- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2018

Doctors who examined WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange found that nearly six years confined within the Ecuadorean Embassy in London has had a “dangerous” impact on his physical and mental health, citing limited access to proper care.

Three medical professionals who evaluated Mr. Assange, 46, last year raised concerns about his condition in an editorial published Wednesday by The Guardian.

“As clinicians with a combined experience of four decades caring for and about refugees and other traumatized populations, we recently spent 20 hours, over three days, performing a comprehensive physical and psychological evaluation of Mr. Assange,” Drs. Sondra S. Crosby, Brock Chisholm and Sean Love wrote.

“While the results of the evaluation are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him, and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare,” the doctors wrote.

Mr. Assange entered the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 in lieu of being extradited to Sweden where he was wanted in connection with a sexual assault investigation. He received asylum that August, and Swedish prosecutors dropped their case last year.

British authorities said they’ll arrest Mr. Assange if he leaves the building, however, creating a situation defined as “arbitrary detention” by an United Nations working group and a violation of his human right to health care, according to his doctors.

“Although it is possible for clinicians to visit him in the embassy, most doctors are reluctant to do so. Even for those who will see him, their capacity to provide care is limited. At the embassy, there are none of the diagnostic tests, treatments and procedures that we have concluded he needs urgently,” the doctors wrote.

“He is also unable to avail himself of his right to access medical institutions due to the threat of imminent arrest should he step outside the embassy, even for a medical emergency,” they added. “It is unconscionable that Mr. Assange is in the position of having to decide between avoiding arrest and potentially suffering the health consequences, including death, if a life-threatening crisis such as a heart attack were to occur.”

The doctors said Mr. Assange hasn’t had access to sunlight, appropriate ventilation or outside space since entering the embassy, adding: “It is our professional opinion that Mr. Assange’s physical and psychological circumstances at the embassy are in violation of the spirit of the U.N. standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.”

Dr. Love is a resident physician in general surgery at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital, according to his LinkedIn profile. He visited Mr. Assange at the embassy last May and recommended a thorough evaluation, The Guardian reported.

Dr. Crosby, a doctor and associate professor at the Boston University’s school of medicine and public health, and Dr. Chisholm, a London-based consultant clinical psychologist, subsequently evaluated the WikiLeaks chief for 20 hours during a three-day period in October, the report said.

Ecuador naturalized Mr. Assange in December, and Quito said it’s actively seeking negotiations meant to secure his safe exit from its embassy in London.

Mr. Assange was under house arrest when he entered the embassy in 2012, and British authorities have said they’ll arrest him if and when he exits for having breached his bail conditions. Mr. Assange previously said he fears he’ll be extradited to the U.S. if apprehended, where he risks being charged in connection with publishing classified documents though his WikiLeaks website.

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