WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange complained that he had heard imagined sounds and music in detention, and that he had suicidal tendencies, according to a psychiatrist who examined him during his hearing in a London court looking into a request to deport him to the United States.
Michael Kopelman told the “Old Bailey” criminal court in London that Assange was threatened by a “very high” suicide risk if he was deported to the United States, which intends to stand trial for publishing hundreds of thousands of confidential documents. This psychiatrist spoke with Assange twenty times.
Kopelman mentioned the presence of “severe depression” and “symptoms of psychosis” in Julian Assange, including the auditory hallucinations that appeared in his maximum security cell in Belmarsh prison, southwest of the British capital.
Assange informs the psychiatrist by hearing voices telling him, “You are dirt, you are dead, we will come to you”.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment has previously condemned the detention conditions of the founder of “WikiLeaks”.
The psychiatrist explained that Assange’s suicidal tendencies “are due to clinical factors… but the approaching deportation will lead to an attempt,” and warned that his condition “will deteriorate significantly” if he is deported.
Assange’s partner, Stella Morris, had previously expressed her fear that he would commit suicide, leaving their two children behind without a father.
For his part, government representative James Lewis questioned the psychiatrist about the veracity of some of Assange’s allegations, considering that it is not unlikely that he had made them.
Assange faces eighteen charges under the US Espionage Act, related to the publication of “WikiLeaks” hundreds of thousands of secret documents a decade ago about details of US diplomatic and military activities, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Washington claims that Assange helped intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in stealing the documents, which led to the disclosure of classified sources around the world.
Assange was arrested in April of last year, after nearly seven years he spent at the headquarters of the Ecuadorian diplomatic mission in London, where he sought refuge after violating his conditional release, for fear of being deported to the United States.
The British judiciary must decide on the US deportation request, especially with regard to respecting a number of legal standards, the most prominent of which is respect for human rights.