By email only
The Rt. Hon Priti Patel
Secretary of State for the Home Department
2 Marsham Street
10 June 2022
Dear Priti Patel,
We wrote to you on Friday 22 November 2019 expressing our serious concerns about the deteriorating health of Mr Julian Assange. We then numbered 60 medical doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists from around the world; today, we number more than 300.
Despite the urgent subject matter of our letter, which followed the assessment of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and two medical experts that Mr Assange, a journalist and a publisher, was a victim of “prolonged psychological torture”, you did not reply. Instead, your office issued the following statement to the media:
“The allegations Mr. Assange was subjected to torture are unfounded and wholly false. The UK is committed to upholding the rule of law, and ensuring that no one is ever above it.”
Your denial of the cruel, inhuman treatment inflicted on Mr Assange was then, and is even more so now, irreconcilable with the reality of the situation, as illustrated by the statements of numerous human rights experts and organisations, concerned politicians, and advocates of press freedom and the rule of law across the globe.
Predictably, Mr Assange’s health has since continued to deteriorate in your custody. In October 2021, Mr Assange suffered a “mini-stroke”. This dangerous deterioration of Mr Assange’s health underscores the medical concern that the chronic stress caused by his harsh prison conditions, as well as his justified fear of the conditions that he would face in the case of extradition, leaves Mr Assange vulnerable to cardiovascular events. This dramatic deterioration of Mr Assange’s health has not yet been considered in his extradition proceedings. The US assurances accepted by the High Court, therefore, which would form the basis of any extradition approval, are founded upon outdated medical information, rendering them obsolete. Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account, no valid decision to approve his extradition may be made, by you or anyone else. Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome. The extradition of a person with such compromised health, moreover, is medically and ethically unacceptable.
During the extradition proceedings, the Court heard and accepted medical evidence that Mr Assange’s mental health was such that an extradition order, if imposed, would likely inflict substantial risk of suicide on him. The subsequent “assurances” of the United States government, that Mr Assange would not be treated inhumanly, are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution and plotted murder of Mr Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism, quite apart from the fact that the US government reserves the right to subject Mr Assange to the very conditions, namely, “Special Administrative Measures”, that would be inhuman.
Home Secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time. Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him.
Doctors for Assange