Medical doctors lambast home secretary’s failure to respond to concerns over Julian Assange

Priti Patel and Julian Assange
Support us and go ad-free

On 22 November, over 60 doctors signed an open letter concerning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying: “we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison”. The letter, addressed to the UK home secretary Priti Patel and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, was shared widely across social media.

The doctors have now written a follow-up letter lambasting the home secretary’s failure to act on their advice. Dated 4 December, the letter calls on the lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice to intervene.

The letter

The letter, which can be read in full here, states:

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.

The Canary‘s exclusive interview with UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer can be read here.

The letter continues:

In our open letter, we urged the UK Government to change course immediately and transfer Mr Assange from Belmarsh Prison to a university teaching hospital for appropriate expert medical assessment and care. So far, we have received no substantive reply from the UK Government, nor has receipt of our letter been acknowledged.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In our opinion, the UK Government’s conduct in this matter is irresponsible, incompatible with medical ethics and unworthy of a democratic society bound by the rule of law. We reiterate our grave concern that Mr Assange could die of deliberate medical negligence in a British prison and demand an urgent response from the UK Government.


The doctors conclude that the UK government’s conduct is therefore:

irresponsible, incompatible with medical ethics and unworthy of a democratic society bound by the rule of law.

Assange is one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners. The UK government must end his persecution.

Featured images via Flickr – DFID / YouTube – Channel 4 News

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

  • Follow Doctors for Assange on Twitter.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. “So far, we have received no substantive reply from the UK Government, nor has receipt of our letter been acknowledged.”

      To hector the government in that manner is wholly unreasonable. Don’t these do-gooder doctors grasp that all government ministers are fully engaged in weighty matters?

      The future of their wallets, deposit boxes, and off-shore accounts is at stake. If they can’t deliver Brexit according to the gospel of neo-liberalism their receptacles for cash will not be filled as the would wish. Moreover, should that puppet of Russia and renowned antisemite, Jeremy Corbyn assume the mantel of prime minister it won’t be long before current ministers’ financial activities and those of their super-rich backers are scrutinised by the envious. Envy is a Deadly Sin and people must be protected from temptation to indulge it.

      These people are our trusted leaders, indeed born for the task. We must not thwart their ambition lest we too are not wafted upwards on their coat tails to Ayn Rand’s beatific vision of utopia. One man’s welfare, particularly one who imperilled USA national security and thereby the world, must not stand in the way of general advancement.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.