Assange's Hearing: Latest Observations From Court
Despite severe restrictions on observers, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the only NGO that has gained access to the hearing, and we’ve managed to monitor proceedings on most days. We will continue to do so whenever possible. Yesterday I was in court to witness the powerful testimony of Professor Michael Kopelman, a neuropsychiatrist and the first medical expert to testify in this hearing.
Professor Kopelman’s testimony was strong and disturbing. He spoke of Julian Assange’s history of depression, his anxiety, his frequent suicidal thoughts, his auditory hallucinations, his PTSD, and his sleep disorder. He painted a clear picture of extreme vulnerability. According to Professor Kopelman, Assange experiences hundreds of suicidal thoughts per day. If extradited to the US, Professor Kopelman stated resolutely that Assange was likely to find a way to commit suicide. His extradition could be a matter of life or death.
This testimony added urgency to the humanitarian need for Assange’s release. RSF believes that Assange should be unconditionally released, the charges against him dropped, and his extradition to the US prevented. We will continue to monitor the ongoing proceedings, and to keep up our broader campaign to #FreeAssange!
Also connected to our campaign in support of Assange, RSF has become aware of a spambot attack on our website, primarily targeting our #FreeAssange petition. Tens of thousands of falsified signatures were simultaneously added to the call to #FreeAssange and other areas of the RSF website. The RSF team took immediate action to rectify the situation and secure the petition tool, and no data was compromised.
A large number of false signatures have been removed from the petition, but 82,000 are real and were verified prior to the spambot attack - in addition to nearly 7,000 more signatures on the German version of the petition. Now we need your help to replace the false signatures with even more real ones - and we have promised to attempt again to deliver all of the signatures to 10 Downing Street at the end of the extradition proceedings.
We will not be deterred by this online attack - quite the contrary. We are more determined than ever to secure Julian Assange’s release and stop his extradition.