Last November, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed alarm at the continued deterioration of Julian Assange’s health since his arrest and detention earlier this year, saying his life was at risk. Melzer accused the UK government of inflicting torture and breaking international laws and norms. The inevitability of Assange’s extradition is in no doubt – then Assange faces a secret court in America with a rigged jury where not one person has been acquitted – ever.
Melzer is a professor of international law at the University of Glasgow and holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law.
The United Nations fully endorses Melzer’s words regarding the treatment of Assange – “Mr. Assange was sent to a UK high-security prison on 11 April 2019 where he continues to be held in connection with a US extradition request on espionage charges for having exposed evidence for US war crimes and other misconduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the US Government prosecutes Mr. Assange for publishing information about serious human rights violations, including torture and murder, the officials responsible for these crimes continue to enjoy impunity.”
The Special Rapporteur and his medical team visited the imprisoned Wikileaks founder and reported that he showed “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture” and demanded immediate measures for the protection of his health and dignity.
“Despite the complexity of the proceedings against him led by the world’s most powerful Government, Mr Assange’s access to legal counsel and documents has been severely obstructed, thus effectively undermining his most fundamental right to prepare his defence,” said Melzer.
“cases are always tried in front of the same judge behind closed doors and on the strength of classified evidence. Nobody has ever been acquitted there in a case like that”
What Assange faces in the USA
Melzer feels sure that Assange will not receive a fair trial in part because Assange will be tried in Alexandria, Virginia, the notorious ‘Espionage Court’ where jury members are drawn from a local population, 85% of whom work in the national security community – at the CIA, the NSA, the Defense Department and the State Department.
Melzer also comments that the cases are always tried in front of the same judge behind closed doors and on the strength of classified evidence. Nobody has ever been acquitted there in a case like that.
Melzer then asks three questions:
- What is the legal basis for denying someone their fundamental right to defend themselves?
- Why is a man who is neither dangerous nor violent held in solitary confinement when UN standards legally prohibit solitary confinement for periods extending beyond 15 days?
- Why have none of these UN member states launched an investigation, answer my questions or even demonstrate an interest in dialogue?
Sweden bent over backwards and allow themselves to be manipulated by the back-channels of American thuggery through its diplomatic mission. Britain, a country that sees itself as a global power, has literally got down to its knees and kissed the boots of America without question. There is more compelling evidence. The expelling of Britain’s most senior diplomat from the USA is a case in point, so is the refusal of Trump’s administration to recognise the extradition of Ann Sacoolas, the woman who killed Harry Dunn and was shielded under the false pretences of being a diplomat.
In Britain, there will be a show trial to make an example of Julian Assange. The point is to intimidate other journalists, editors and whistleblowers. The message to all is clear: we will either treat you like a foreign state actor or no different to that of treason against the state. We are beyond the law – you have no defence.
Lord Sumptionis a British author, medieval historian and former senior judge. Here are his words regarding Britain’s democracy right now:
“There is already plenty of gloomy speculation about how long democracy can last without my adding to it. Prophets are usually wrong, but one thing I will prophesy; we will not recognise the end of democracy when it comes, if it does. Advanced democracies are not overthrown, there are no tanks on the street, no sudden catastrophes, no brash dictators or braying mobs, instead, their institutions are imperceptibly drained of everything that once made them democratic. The labels will still be there, but they will no longer describe the contents, the facade will still stand, but there will be nothing behind it, the rhetoric of democracy will be unchanged, but it will be meaningless – and the fault will be ours.”
Sumption is describing how the British state is now undermining the institutions that ensure government overreach is kept in check. Right now, the government is fully subverting the judiciary and the legal constraints that domestic and international laws are built upon.
Assange has published proof of systematic torture and war crimes. But instead of those responsible for it, it is Assange who is being persecuted. Melzer added: “This could just as easily happen to us or our children. And nobody will care. I can promise you that”.
Once Assange is extradited, the government will have confirmed that it will no longer tolerate criticism of its actions no matter how grave. Many long-serving politicians, diplomats and government advisors are now looking on in horror as Britain looks more and more like a rogue state as it cowers under the false veil of liberal governance. The Assange case demonstrates all that is left of democracy is the facade because the law means nothing.