UN investigator: Assange would face 'show trial' in US

UN investigator: Assange would face 'show trial' in US
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A United Nations human rights investigator says that WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangePamela Anderson: Julian Assange has been 'psychologically tortured' in London prison Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE would get nothing more than a "politicized show trial" were he to be extradited to the U.S. to face charges related to the publication of classified military documents.

Nils Melzer, a U.N. expert on torture, told Reuters that Assange showed signs of "psychological torture" at the hands of British authorities when he visited him in prison earlier this month.

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Assange was arrested recently following a years-long stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought political asylum. His legal future remains unclear, but he faces a multi-count espionage indictment in the U.S., as well as sexual assault charges in Sweden.

“Our finding was that Mr. Assange shows all the symptoms of a person who has been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time. The psychiatrist who accompanied my mission said that his state of health was critical,” Melzer told Reuters.

“I am seriously, gravely concerned that if this man were to be extradited to the United States, he would be exposed to a politicized show trial and grave violations of his human rights,” he added.

Melzer told the news service that the treatment Assange was experiencing, as well as the charges he faced, were largely due to the Trump administration attempting to send a message to those who would follow in his footsteps in assisting whistleblowers leak classified materials.

“The main narrative in this affair really is the United States wanting to make an example of Mr. Assange in order to deter other people from following his example,” he said.

Assange's indictment under the Espionage Act was sharply criticized this month by top editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post, who called the charges a danger to the future of press freedoms.

“Dating as far back as the Pentagon Papers case and beyond, journalists have been receiving and reporting on information that the government deemed classified. Wrongdoing and abuse of power were exposed," Post editor Marty Baron told The Daily Beast.

"With the new indictment of Julian Assange, the government is advancing a legal argument that places such important work in jeopardy and undermines the very purpose of the First Amendment," Baron added.