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Julian Assange’s health in ‘dangerous’ condition, say doctors

Julian Assange’s long stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London is having a “dangerous” impact on his physical and mental health, according to clinicians who carried out the most recent assessments of him.

The pair renewed calls for the WikiLeaks publisher to be granted safe passage to a London hospital.

Sondra Crosby, a doctor and associate professor at the Boston University’s school of medicine and public health, and Brock Chisholm, a London-based consultant clinical psychologist, examined Assange for 20 hours over three days in October.

In an article for the Guardian, they wrote: “While the results of the evaluation are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare.”

Although the two did not go into details, Assange’s health appears to be deteriorating significantly after more than five years holed up in the embassy.

The doctors’ assessment offers the first clues about Assange’s condition since WikiLeaks in 2016 published documents setting out the impact of life in the confines of the embassy on his mental and physical health.

Since he sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012, following an extradition request from Sweden over allegations of sexual assault, there have been various reports that he has a serious shoulder issue that requires an MRI scan, which would be near impossible to organise inside the embassy. He is also said to have a lung problem.

The UK government refused an earlier request to allow Assange safe passage for hospital treatment. A fall-back position would be to allow doctors with the necessary medical equipment into the embassy, but the size of the equipment needed appears to rule out this option.

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