Judge rejects Assange extradition on grounds he would be suicide risk
- 04 January 2021
UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled to reject the US request to extradite WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange, APA reports citing Sputnik.
Baraitser indicated that extradition would have a harmful effect on Assange's mental health and said she ruled against the US request due to fears that the whistleblower has a high risk of committing suicide as a result.
"I rule it would be unjust to extradite Mr Assange. Faced with conditions of near total isolation […] I am satisfied that the procedures [outlined by US authorities] will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide", the judge stated.
In the course of extradition hearings, several witnesses indicated that Assange's prison conditions put him at high risk for depression and suicide, and that these issues would likely worsen should the whistleblower be extradited to the US. Psychiatrist Michael Kopelman, who also testified in court, claimed that a razor blade was found hidden in Assange's cell, adding that his patient engaged in thinking about ways of ending his own life.