October 15, 2015

Police: Assange would be arrested if he left embassy to visit hospital

Police: Assange would be arrested if he left embassy to visit hospital | Media | The Guardian

Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patiño has called for WikiLeaks founder to get safe passage for MRI scan on shoulder
The Metropolitan police
have confirmed that their officers would arrest the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if he left the Ecuadorian embassy in London to go to hospital for
a medical examination.

Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, said Assange, who has been living in the embassy for more than three years,
should be given safe passage to hospital
for an MRI scan to help diagnose a pain in his shoulder.

The Foreign Office said Assange, who is subject to a European arrest warrant over an allegation of rape in Sweden, will not be prevented by the British
authorities from receiving medical treatment. But it said questions over his arrest were a matter for the Met, which this week
scaled back its costly 24-hour surveillance
of the embassy. Scotland Yard confirmed that Assange would face arrest if he stepped outside the embassy, even if a mobile MRI scanner were parked outside the building
in Knightsbridge, central London.

Assange, an Australian national,
sought political asylum at the embassy
in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. His American lawyer, Carey Shenkman, accused Britain of forcing Assange to choose between the human right
to asylum and the human right to medical treatment”.

At a press conference in Wednesday in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, Patiño read from a letter by Assange’s doctor. The Justice for Assange Campaign
<a href=“https://justice4assange.com/?UK5#MEDICALreleased an edited version of the letter, dated 14 August.
It quoted Dr Wood as saying: He has been suffering with a constant pain to the right shoulder region for the past three months [since June 2015]. There
is no history of acute injury to the area. […] I examined him and all movements of his shoulder (abduction, internal rotation and external rotation)
are limited due to pain. I am unable to elicit the exact cause of his symptoms without the benefit of further diagnostic tests, [including] MRI.”

The full text of the letter has not been released. A source at the Foreign Office confirmed that the Ecuadorian ambassador to Britain raised Assange’s
medical concerns at a meeting with British officials last month. But it is understood that the Foreign Office has not received a copy of the doctor’s note.Scotland Yard confirmed that Assange would face arrest if he stepped outside the embassy, even if a mobile MRI scanner were parked outside the building
in Knightsbridge, central
London.

Assange, an Australian national,
sought political asylum at the embassy
in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. His American lawyer, Carey Shenkman, accused Britain of forcing Assange to choose between the human right
to asylum and the human right to medical treatment”.

At a press conference in Wednesday in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, Patiño read from a letter by Assange’s doctor. The Justice for Assange Campaign
released an edited versio
n of the letter, dated 14 August.
It quoted Dr Wood as saying: He has been suffering with a constant pain to the right shoulder region for the past three months [since June 2015]. There
is no history of acute injury to the area. […] I examined him and all movements of his shoulder (abduction, internal rotation and external rotation)
are limited due to pain. I am unable to elicit the exact cause of his symptoms without the benefit of further diagnostic tests, [including] MRI.”

The full text of the letter has not been released. A source at the Foreign Office confirmed that the Ecuadorian ambassador to Britain raised Assange’s
medical concerns at a meeting with British officials last month. But it is understood that the Foreign Office has not received a copy of the doctor’s note. Medical experts said Assange would have to leave the embassy to get an MRI scan, but a mobile scanner could be driven to the street outside the embassy.

Prof Stephen Keevil, a former president of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) and head of magnetic resonance physics at Guy’s
and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, said: An MRI scanner is a big piece of kit. It is not something you could carry into the building itself.”

But he added: There are portable MRI scanners in the back of trucks and there are companies who provide mobile MRI services. I don’t know what the surroundings
of the embassy are like, but if there’s a delivery entrance it would be perfectly possible to drive a truck with an MRI scanner in it and he [Assange]
could walk in. Hospitals hire them on a daily basis.

They probably cost in the order of thousands of pounds per day to hire, but not tens of thousands. I appreciate that if he had to come out of the embassy
on to public ground to get there then that would be a problem.”

Asked whether Assange would be allowed to leave the embassy to enter a mobile MRI scanner, a spokesman for the Met said its operation to arrest Assange
continued. It said: Should he leave the embassy, the [Met] will make every effort to arrest him. However, it is no longer proportionate to commit officers
to a permanent presence.”

Keevil pointed out that it might be possible to assess Assange’s condition using ultrasound equipment, which could be taken into the embassy. Obviously
there are other technologies that are more portable, ultrasound being the obvious one,” he said. A quick look-see with ultrasound might be useful, but
if the clinical view is that MRI is needed, that would not be supportable.”

A IPEM spokesman said an MRI scan would provide higher-resolution images and in general depict soft tissue problems more clearly than ultrasound.

I understand that MRI machines are big pieces of equipment, but haven’t we developed one small enough to carry one into the embacy yet?


articles Wikileaks


Previous post
Obama Won’t Seek Access to Encrypted User Data - The New York Times CUPERTINO, Calif. — The Obama administration has backed down in its bitter
Next post
Changes are coming! Well, otherwise known as a return of what this blog used to be, before June 2013. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ll still post news articles, (especially