New Delhi: WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange’s health could be at risk inside the British jail, claimed as many as 60 doctors in an open letter on Monday.
The 60 medics, from across the world including the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka wrote a letter addressed to Home Secretary Priti Patel seeking Assange to be moved out of the UK prison to a University teaching hospital.
Basing their assessment on ‘harrowing eyewitness accounts’ of Assange’s appearance during the October 21 court proceeding, the medics claimed ‘serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial’ in their letter. They demanded he needs to be transferred to the university hospital where his health can be assessed and he can be given the necessary treatment.
The 48-year-old Australian who is currently facing trial, fighting the extradition bid by the US, has been held in the Belmarsh prison in south-east London. Assange was indicted under the Espionage Act and18 different charges including hacking into the extremely confidential and high-security systems of the US Pentagon.
Notably, Sweden recently dropped the rape investigation against Assange due to weakening of evidence. Assange, who denied the accusation, avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after being granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012.
The Australian whistleblower came under international spotlight nine years ago after WikiLeaks published leaked military information provided by former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, which prompted the US government to launch a criminal investigation into the publisher.
Assange is awaiting his extradition trial which is due in February next year. If convicted, the WikiLeaks founder could face imprisonment up to 175 years.