September 7, 2016 Psychologist: Assange’s situation can become life-threatening

Years in confined space at the Ecuador embassy, with no chance to go outdoors, and earlier in a house arrest wearing an ankle bracelet, have harmed Julian Assange both physically and mentally, according to a report shown to Uppdrag Granskning’s Petter Ljunggren.

Trauma expert Michael Korzinski has interviewed Julian Assange on five occasions between June 2014 and June 2015. In his report where he summarises his conclusions, he conjures up a dismal spectre of the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy. In December 2010, Marianne Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant to have Assange taken into custody and surrendered to Sweden, under suspicion of sex crimes. Assange reports voluntarily to a police station, and is there put under arrest. Since then, he’s been held in isolation for a week and been under house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet. After a long judicial process, Assange chose to take refuge in the Ecuador embassy where he applied for and was granted asylum. In the report, he says that in the beginning he felt relieved to enter the embassy, but that it’s become more difficult over time”.

Previously, the embassy was guarded day and night by British police who waited outside to arrest Assange if he exited the premises. Assange and other people at the embassy say that for a while they were afraid the embassy would be invaded” by the police. Assange says, according to the report, that 150 constables surrounded the embassy on one occasion in August 2012, and that they were lowered with ropes onto the roofs of adjacent buildings. The visible police have been gone for a while and now there’s covert surveillance instead. The continual police surveillance has created an atmosphere of being at war with a state apparatus, which has increased the tension and uneasiness. Michael Korzinski likens Assange’s living conditions to that of a prisoner held in isolation, but with the decisive difference that Assange doesn’t know when his incarceration will end.

In addition, the embassy has 24/7 camera surveillance of all common rooms, locks, and doors. There are cameras pointed at the doors to every room. Julian Assange’s sense of time and space has been damaged by his living for the past four years in a building with no garden and where there is almost no access to daylight. He is often awake between 18 and 22 hours before collapsing from exhaustion.

He is also in need of an X-ray and dental surgery, neither of which can be performed in the embassy.

The damage that life in the embassy has had on Julian Assange’s health and wellbeing is serious, and the dangers to his health will in all likelihood only worsen, and given the present conditions, they may then become life-threatening, writes Michael Korzinski in conclusion.

Uppdrag Granskning may be viewable outside Sweden at SVT Play.

I read that article clearly a couple times, and it brought up a question. is the Psychologist saying that Assange is free-running his sleep cycles? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-24-hour_sleep%E2%80%93wake_disorder) If that’s actually the case, that’s something quite rare to happen in a sighted person, but if the embacy is a time-isolated facility, I suppose it would make sense. However, having access to the internet and phones would indicate that it isn’t time-isolated, so the free-running perplexes me. However the Wikipedia article does say this about Non-24: The majority of people with non-24 are totally blind, and the failure of entrainment is explained by an absence of photic input to the circadian clock. These people’s brains may have normal body clocks”, but the clocks do not receive input from the eyes about environmental light levels, as that requires a functioning retina, optic nerve and visual processing center. The disorder also occurs in sighted people for reasons that are not well understood. Their circadian rhythms are not normal, often running to more than 25 hours. Their visual systems may function normally but their brains are incapable of making the large adjustment to a 24-hour schedule. So it probably isn’t exactly a case of non-24, because it has to be more than 25 hours apparently. It definitely is a case of free-running though, if you’re awake for almost 24 hours before falling asleep at who knows what time.


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