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Assange suffering ‘psychological torture’: UN expert

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Julian Assange has been subjected to drawn-out “psychological torture”, a UN rights expert said Friday, accusing the United States, Britain, Ecuador and Sweden of “collective persecution” of the WikiLeaks founder.

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Nils Melzer, also warned that if London agrees to an extradition request from Washington, Assange risked the death penalty.

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Melzer visited the Australian whistleblower in a London prison on May 9, nearly a month after his arrest at Ecuador’s embassy where he had been holed up for seven years.

“It was obvious that Mr Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years,” Melzer said in a statement.

“Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma,” he said.

Melzer, who was accompanied on the visit by two medical experts specialised in examining potential torture victims, said there was “overwhelming” evidence that Assange had been “deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“The cumulative effects,” he said, “can only be described as psychological torture.”

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Assange, 47, sought refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces accusations of sexual assault.

He is currently serving a separate 50-week sentence at London’s Belmarsh prison for skipping bail.

Assange now also has an extradition request against him from the US, which has charged him with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing a huge cache of military and diplomatic files in 2010, rejecting his claim that he is a journalist.

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– ‘Death penalty’? –

Melzer warned that extraditing Assange to the US would expose him “to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

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“I am particularly alarmed at the recent announcement by the US Department of Justice of 17 new charges against Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act, which currently carry up to 175 years in prison,” he said.

“This may well result in a life sentence without parole, or possibly even the death penalty, if further charges were to be added in the future,” he warned.

Melzer voiced outrage at the “sustained and concerted effort by several states” over the past nine years to secure Assange’s extradition to the US.

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Since 2010, “there has been a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador,” he said.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” he said.

“The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”


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Trump accused of inciting violence against Adam Schiff with ‘not paid the price yet’ Twitter threat

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A Sunday morning tweet by Donald Trump attacking Rep. Adam Schiff  has drawn intense scrutiny on Twitter and elsewhere with many suggesting the president is inciting violence or some sort of retribution against the California Democrat whith the phrase Schiff "not paid the price yet."

According to the president, "“The Impeachment Hoax is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before. In just two hours the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have seen their phony case absolutely shredded. Shifty is now exposed for illegally making up my phone call, & more!” before adding, “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

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Fox News poll delivers devastating news to Trump on impeachment

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According to a new Fox News poll released on Sunday morning, a clear majority of respondents -- beyond the margin of error -- believe Donald Trump should be convicted by the U.S. Senate for impeachable crimes and removed from office.

According to the poll, "On impeachment, by a 50-44 percent margin, voters think the Senate should vote to convict Trump and remove him from office. Most Democrats say remove (81 percent) and most Republicans disagree (84 percent). Among independents, more say Trump should be removed by a 19-point margin (53-34 percent)."

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Trump has bigger 2020 re-election problems than impeachment: ‘A target-rich environment for Democrats’

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With Donald Trump expected to be acquited by the GOP-majority Senate in an impeachment trial being manipulated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democrats are setting their sights on the 2020 election where they feel the president is vulnerable on a host of other issues that can be piled on his House impeachment.

According to a report from the Daily Beast, democratic strategists who will be helping direct the 2020 campaign against Trump by the eventual Democratic nominee are licking their chops at the prospect of highlighting the president's poor stewardship of the country.

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