Almost 200 medical doctors say Julian Assange’s health is at increased risk from coronavirus

Julian Assange
John McEvoy

On 18 March, almost 200 medical doctors wrote to Australian foreign minister Marise Payne to warn that Julian Assange’s health is at increased risk from the new coronavirus.

“Mr Assange could die in prison”

This is the latest in a number of letters sent by Doctors for Assange to express concern over the WikiLeaks publisher’s deteriorating health.

On 22 November, the group signed an open letter addressed to UK home secretary Priti Patel, saying: “we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison”.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.




In a follow-up letter published on 4 December, the doctors wrote:

When the UK, as a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, repeatedly ignores not only the serious warnings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, but also its unequivocal investigative and remedial obligations under international and human rights law, the credibility of the UK’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law is fatally undermined.

“Fertile breeding grounds”

The latest letter, signed by medical doctors from countries including the UK, Australia, Sweden, and the US, was written in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic.

The letter reads:

We wrote to you on December 15 2019 that Julian Assange’s life is at risk due to nearly a decade of human rights abuse including arbitrary detention, psychological torture and medical neglect. Now, with the president of the Prison Governor’s Association warning that prisons provide “fertile breeding grounds” for coronavirus, Julian Assange’s life and health are at heightened risk due to his arbitrary detention during this global pandemic. That threat will only grow as the coronavirus spreads. …

We therefore stand by our previous calls for the Australian Government to urgently intervene to protect the life, health and human rights of its citizen Julian Assange, before it is too late, whether due to coronavirus or any number of catastrophic health outcomes.

Coronavirus is the latest threat to Assange’s life, adding onto years of arbitrary punishment and psychological torture.

Featured image via YouTube – 60 Minutes Australia

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us