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JULIAN ASSANGE

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WikiLeaks: ‘Embassy stay risks Assange’s mental health’

WikiLeaks has released medical records claiming its founder Julian Assange's mental health is at risk if he remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

WikiLeaks: 'Embassy stay risks Assange's mental health'
Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy. Photo: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The organization released the records on Thursday ahead of a court ruling in Sweden to decide whether to maintain an arrest warrant for him.

READ ALSO: Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant

More than four years since Assange moved into the Ecuadorian embassy to escape extradition to Sweden – where he faces a police investigation into rape claims – WikiLeaks argued his confinement there needed to be brought to an end as a matter of urgency.

“Mr Assange's mental health is highly likely to deteriorate over time if he remains in his current situation… It is urgent that his current circumstances are resolved as quickly as possible,” said a report published by the organization on Twitter.

The 27-page medical report is attributed to an unnamed “trauma and psychosocial expert” in London and dated December 11th, 2015.

It comes ahead of a decision expected on Friday morning by a Swedish appeals court on whether to maintain an arrest warrant for Assange over the rape accusation.

The judges will decide whether to grant Assange's request to hear legal arguments on the European arrest warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors in 2010.

Separately, Assange has agreed to answer questions from Swedish investigators from October 17th in Ecuador's embassy.

The newly-released medical report, accompanied by supporting documents, is said to be based on interviews with Assange and includes comments from others at the embassy.

According to the report, Assange often goes up to 22 hours without sleeping, although he has access to a treadmill for physical exercise.

“Until June 2015, Mr Assange felt himself to be resilient but significantly degraded…,” the report said.

“Since June 2015, however, his physical condition has deteriorated due to limited range of movement, inability to exercise normally and constant pain,” it added, quoting the unnamed expert.

Medical complains outlined in the report and also the records included pain in his right shoulder and dental pain from a fractured tooth.

One of Assange's colleagues was also quoted as saying that it had been difficult to find doctors willing to examine the WikiLeaks founder at the embassy.

JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

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