Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger says the “psychological torture” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues “unabated” while he remains in British custody. Pilger tweeted that he recently spoke with Assange and said the journalist had lost even more weight than previously reported; he has also been denied a chance to speak to his parents on the phone.
I spoke to Julian #Assange at the weekend. His psychological torture is unabated. He remains isolated in his small cell, mostly 23 hours a day, denied proper exercise. He has lost more weight. Although ‘approved’, phone calls to his parents are still not possible. Britain 2019.
— John Pilger (@johnpilger) August 28, 2019
“Britain 2019,” Pilger concluded. The journalist has been a staunch defender of Assange since his showdown with Western governments began following WikiLeaks’ publication of sensitive US documents exposing potential war crimes in Iraq.
Assange, 48, has been serving a 50-week prison sentence since his arrest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11, ostensibly for skipping bail, though many of his supporters argue it’s just a holding period before his eventual extradition to the US to stand trial for the alleged possession and dissemination of classified information. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.
Assange detention an example of shutting down investigative journalism
A UN rapporteur on torture has written a scalding op-ed in support of Julian Assange, in which he says the publisher was the victim of a smear campaign. Now he claims many leading MSM outlets are snubbing the piece.
Media outlets silence Assange torture report – the end of free journalism?
The op-ed by Nils Melzer was published Wednesday on the occasion of International Day in Support of Torture Victims. Melzer describes his personal path to the realization that Julian Assange, co-founder of WikiLeaks, is not a rapist, not a hacker, not a Russian spy, and not even “a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls.” Western media and officials have claimed that Assange is all of those things.
Read more: Media outlets silence Assange torture report – the end of free journalism?
“It’s mainly about shutting down investigative journalism. In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed.” Melzer says the purposefulness and scale of the campaign against Assange elevated it from mere slander or even state persecution to full-fledged psychological torture in his eyes.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk