Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, said after visiting Julian Assange in prison he will not receive a fair trial after years of being subjected to “psychological torture.”
He said that Assange has been deliberately exposed to severe forms of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment or punishment.
On Thursday Assange was to ill to appear via video link at Westminster Magistrates Court for his extradition hearing.
Professor Melzer, who visited the WikiLeaks founder at HMP Belmarsh in south London earlier this month.
He issued a strongly worded statement and expressed “alaram” over 17 new charges brought against him from the US Department of Justice, which could see him being sentenced up to 175-years.
He said, “This may well result in a life sentence without parole, or possibly even the death penalty, if further charges were added in the future.”
Professor Melzer said, “Since 2010, when Wikileaks started publishing evidence of war crimes and torture committed by US forces, we have seen a sustained and concerted effort by several states towards getting Mr Assange extradited to the United States for prosecution, raising serious concern over the criminalisation of investigative journalism in violation of both the US Constitution and international human rights law.
“Since then, there has been a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador.”
The top UN official said, this included an “endless stream” of humiliating, debasing and threatening statements in the press and on social media. Also senior political figures, and magistrates involved in proceedings against him.
“In the course of the past nine years, Mr Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.
“It was obvious that Mr Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years.
“Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.
“The evidence is overwhelming and clear.
“Mr Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.
“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity.
“By displaying an attitude of complacency at best, and of complicity at worst, these governments have created an atmosphere of impunity encouraging Mr Assange’s uninhibited vilification and abuse.”
He has appealed to the British government not extradite Assange to the US or any other state. The UN official further stated the extradition to the US will be a “grave violation” of his human rights as there is “no chance” he will receive a fair trial, he said to the Press Association.
He added, “In 20-years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time, and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”