Dr. Bill Hogan, a medical researcher and educator at the University of Florida and one of the signatories of the latest open letter on Assange’s condition, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Wednesday to discuss the WikiLeaks co-founder’s condition, the recently-published letter and what is at stake if Assange is not allowed proper medical attention.
“The key thing that prompted [the open letter] was Craig Murray’s observations of Julian’s administrative hearing back in October, where Julian was disoriented and even had trouble recalling his own name,” Hogan told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.
Hogan noted that the recent release actually came about after a November 22, 2019, open letter signed by “more than 65 eminent medical doctors from the UK and around the world” who cited Murray’s observation of Assange during his October 21, 2019, hearing at a London court - the WikiLeaks co-founder’s first public appearance in months.
In an October 2019 interview with Sputnik, Murray asserted that Assange “has all the symptoms of a torture victim, in terms of disorientation and difficulty in asserting their will and speaking coherently.” Murray highlighted that the same signs had already been referenced in May 2019 by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer.
As for Assange’s possible extradition to the US, Hogan said that he believes that “if the UK followed its own law and its own precedent and the advice of medical experts from the UK and around the world, then they would absolutely not send Julian Assange to the United States.”
However, he noted, “unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like law and precedent are applicable in [Assange’s] case.”
Hogan went on to mention that Melzer has consistently highlighted that Assange has not been given a fair trial. In late December, Melzer took to social media and slammed the UK government over its refusal to provide proper medical care to Assange and the lack of an “impartial investigation.”
(4/6) In my view, recurring & serious due process violations in the UK have rendered both #Assange's criminal conviction/sentencing for bail violation & US extradition trial inherently arbitrary, to the point of making any legal remedies a pointless formality devoid of prospect.— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) December 31, 2019
The UN official concluded by asserting that the UK government should “retract their authorization” for Assange to be extradited to the US and release the WikiLeaks co-founder from prison “without further delay” so that he may receive the proper care.
“Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has warned, he will effectively have been tortured to death,” read the open letter published in The Lancet.
Commenting on the matter, Hogan said that he has not seen any indication that the UK judicial system is taking the powerful statement seriously. Nevertheless, he agreed with the assertion made in the open letter and said that if Assange remained in the custody of Belmarsh Prison and “subsequently passed away, it would absolutely be a condition of tortured to death.”
Hogan explained that even if listeners are not medical professionals, they can make a change by calling their senators or other government representatives and urging them to free Assange by dropping the extradition request, the Espionage Act of 1917 charge and the additional charge related to hacking.