Pressure Mounts On Payne Amid Fresh Global Appeal From World Doctors To Release Assange

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More than 100 of some of the world’s most respected medical doctors from countries all around the world have joined forces to issue an urgent appeal to the Australian government to protect the life of imprisoned WikiLeaks journalist and publisher Julian Assange.

The doctors’ action follows warnings from medical and human rights experts that Mr Assange’s health is rapidly deteriorating and that he might die in a UK prison where he is being held pending US extradition hearings that begin in February.

In an open letter to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday, the doctors – many of whom come from Australia but also from nations across Europe including the UK, Germany, and Sweden – urge Marise Payne to negotiate Julian Assange’s safe passage from Belmarsh Prison to an appropriate hospital setting in Australia, “before it is too late”.

The signatories include Dr Lissa Johnson, a prominent Australian clinical psychologist who has led New Matilda’s reporting on Assange for several years.

“It is an extremely serious matter for an Australian citizen’s survival to be endangered by a foreign government obstructing his human right to health. It is an even more serious matter for that citizen’s own government to refuse to intervene, against historical precedent and numerous converging lines of medical advice,” the letter states.

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In a pointed reminder, the doctors also write: “Should Mr Assange die in a British prison, people will want to know what you, Minister, did to prevent his death.”

On November 22, more than 60 medical doctors wrote to the UK Home Secretary urging that Mr Assange be transferred from Belmarsh maximum-security prison to a university teaching hospital for expert medical assessment and care. Despite worldwide media attention, the doctors’ urgent advice was ignored.

Signatory and Australian medical practitioner, Arthur Chesterfield-Evans said that sacrificing Mr Assange by aiding and abetting the obstruction of his medical care reflected a chilling example of Australia ceding its sovereignty, freedoms and laws.

“If Australia believes in universal moral values of truth ahead of authoritarian regimes using fear and abusing legal process to silence journalists, it must act to protect Julian Assange, his life, and his health,” Dr Chesterfield-Evans said.

Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (UK and Sweden) and signatory, Stephen Frost said the doctors agreed with the assessment of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, that Julian Assange had been ‘psychologically tortured’.

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“That doctors should have to write open letters to the UK and Australian governments to demand appropriate health care for a victim of torture is beyond belief,” Dr Frost said.

“The torture must stop now, and Mr Assange must be provided with immediate access to the health care which he so obviously needs before it is too late.”

“We appeal to the Australian public to support us in ensuring that the Australian government protects the rights of its citizens, which is its primary duty. There can be no exceptions,” he said.

Copies of the letter have also been sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong.

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The signatories are:

Miss Kamilia El-Farra MBChB FRCOG MPhil (Medical Law and Ethics) Consultant Gynaecologist, Essex (UK)

Dr Beata Farmanbar MD General Medical Practitioner (Sweden)

Dr Tomasz Fortuna MD RCPsych (affiliated) Forensic Child and Adolescent

Psychiatrist, Adult Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst, British Psychoanalytical Society and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London (UK)

Dr C Stephen Frost BSc MBChB Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (Stockholm, Sweden) (UK and Sweden)

Dr Peter Garrett MA MD FRCP Independent writer and humanitarian physician; Visiting Lecturer in Nephrology at the University of Ulster (UK)

Dr Rachel Gibbons MBBS BSc MRCPsych. M.Inst.Psychoanal. Mem.Inst.G.A Consultant Psychiatrist (UK)

Dr Bob Gill MBChB MRCGP General Medical Practitioner (UK)

Elizabeth Gordon MS FRCS Consultant Surgeon (retired); Co-founder of Freedom from Torture (UK)

Professor Derek A. Gould MBChB MRCP DMRD FRCR Consultant Interventional Radiologist (retired): BSIR Gold Medal, 2010; over 110 peer-reviewed publications in journals and chapters (UK)

Dr Jenny Grounds MD General Medical Practitioner, Riddells Creek, Victoria; Treasurer, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia (Australia)

Dr Paul Hobday MBBS FRCGP DRCOG DFSRH DPM General Medical Practitioner (retired) (UK)

Mr David Jameson-Evans MBBS FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon (retired) (UK)

Dr Bob Johnson MRCPsych MRCGP Diploma in Psychotherapy Neurology & Psychiatry (Psychiatric Institute New York) MA (Psychol) PhD (Med Computing) MBCS DPM MRCS Consultant Psychiatrist (retired); Formerly Head of Therapy, Ashworth Maximum Security Hospital, Liverpool; Formally Consultant Psychiatrist, Special Unit, C-Wing, Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight (UK)

Dr Lissa Johnson BA BSc(Hons, Psych) MPsych(Clin) PhD Clinical Psychologist (Australia)

Dr Anna Kacperek MRCPsych Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, London (UK)

Dr Jessica Kirker MBChB DipPsychiat MRCPsych FRANZCP MemberBPAS Psychoanalyst and Consultant Medical Psychotherapist (retired) (UK)

Dr Willi Mast MD Facharzt für Allgemeinmedizin, Gelsenkirchen (Germany)

Dr Janet Menage MA MBChB General Medical Practitioner (retired); qualified Psychological Counsellor; author of published research into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (UK)

Professor Alan Meyers MD MPH Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (United States)

Dr Salique Miah BSc MBChB FRCEM DTM&H ARCS Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Manchester (UK)

Dr David Morgan DClinPsych MSc Fellow of British Psychoanalytic Society Psychoanalyst, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Consultant Psychotherapist (UK)

Dr Helen Murrell MBChB MRCGP General Medical Practitioner, Gateshead (UK)

Dr Alison Anne Noonan MBBS (Sydney) MD (Rome) MA (Sydney) ANZSJA IAAP AAGP

IAP Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Specialist Outreach Northern Territory, Executive Medical Association for Prevention of War (NSW) (Australia)

Dr Alison Payne BSc MBChB DRCOG MRCGP prev FRNZGP General Medical Practitioner, Coventry; special interest in mental health/trauma and refugee health (UK)

Dr Peter Pech MD Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (sub-specialty Paediatric Radiology), Akademiska Sjukhuset (Uppsala University Hospital), Uppsala (Sweden)

Dr Tomasz Pierscionek MRes MBBS MRCPsych PGDip (UK)

Professor Allyson M Pollock MBChB MSc FFPH FRCGP FRCP (Ed) Professor of Public Health, Newcastle University (UK)

Dr Abdulsatar Ravalia FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist (UK)

Dr. med. Ullrich Raupp MD Specialist in Psychotherapy, Child Psychiatry and Child Neurology; Psychodynamic Supervisor (DGSv) Wesel, Germany (Germany)

Professor Andrew Samuels Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex (recently retired); Honorary/Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths and Roehampton (both London), New York and Macau City Universities; Former Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapy (2009–2012); Founder Board Member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; Founder of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (UK)

Dr John H Scurr BSc MBBS FRCS Consultant General and Vascular Surgeon, University College Hospital, London (UK)

Dr Peter Shannon MBBS (UWA) DPM (Melb) FRANZCP Adult Psychiatrist (retired) (Australia)

Dr Gustaw Sikora MD PhD F Inst Psychoanalysis Fellow of British Psychoanalytic Society Specialist Psychiatrist (diploids obtained in Poland and registered in the UK); Psychoanalyst; currently in private practice (UK and Poland)

Dr Wilhelm Skogstad MRCPsych BPAS IPA Psychiatrist & Psychoanalyst, London, United Kingdom (UK and Germany)

Dr John Stace MBBS (UNSW) FRACGP FACRRM FRACMA MHA (UNSW) Country Doctor (retired), Perth (Australia)

Dr Derek Summerfield BSc (Hons) MBBS MRCPsych Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London (UK)

Dr Rob Tandy MBBS MRCPsych Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalyst; Unit Head, Psychoanalytic Treatment Unit, Tavistock and Portman, London; City & Hackney Primary Care Psychotherapy Consultation Service, St Leonard’s Hospital, London (UK)

Dr Noel Thomas MA MBChB DCH DobsRCOG DTM&H MFHom General Medical Practitioner; homeopath; has assisted on health/education projects in six developing countries Maesteg, Wales (UK)

Dr Philip Thomas MBChB DPM MPhil MD Formerly Professor of Philosophy Diversity & Mental Health, University of Central Lancashire; Formally Consultant Psychiatrist (UK)

Dr Gianni Tognoni MD Istituto Mario Negri, Milano (Italy)

Dr Sebastião Viola Lic Med MRCPsych Consultant Psychiatrist, Cardiff (UK)

Dr Peter Walger MD Consultant, Infectious Disease Specialist, Bonn-Duesseldorf-Berlin (Germany)

Dr Sue Wareham OAM MBBS General Medical Practitioner (retired) (Australia)

Dr Elizabeth Waterston MD General Medical Practitioner (retired), Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)

Dr Eric Windgassen MRCPsych PGDipMBA Consultant Psychiatrist (retired) (UK)

Dr Pam Wortley MBBS MRCGP General Medical Practitioner (retired), Sunderland

(UK)

Dr Matthew Yakimoff BOralH (DSc) GDipDent General Dental Practitioner (Australia)

Dr Rosemary Yuille BSc (Hons Anatomy) MBBS (Hons) General Medical Practitioner (retired), Canberra (Australia)

Dr Felicity de Zulueta Emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Traumatic Studies, King’s College London (UK)

Dr Paquita de Zulueta MBBChir MA (Cantab) MA (Medical Law & Ethics) MRCP FRCGP PGDipCBT CBT Therapist and Coach; Senior Tutor Medical Ethics; Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Dept of Primary Care & Population Health, Imperial College London (UK)

Dr Victoria Abdelnur MD Specialist in Integrative Trauma Therapy (Germany and Argentina)

Dr Talal Alrubaie Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist MBChB MSc MD (Austria)

Dr Ernst Berger MD Univ. Prof., Specialist for psychiatry and neurology, Specialist for child psychiatry, Psychotherapist, Former head of Human Right Commission of Austrian Ombudsman Board MUW Klinik f. Kinder- u. Jugendpsychiatrie (Austria)

Dr Brenda Bonnici, B Pharm (Hons), M Pharm (Regulatory Affairs), PhD

(Neuropharmacology); Consultant Patient Information (Switzerland)

Dr Stephen Caswell Clinical Psychologist BSc (Hons) MSc PGDip DClinPsych (UK)

Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans M.B., B.S., F.R.C.S.(Eng.), M.Appl.Sci.(OHS), M.Pol.Econ., Former CEO of the Sydney Peace Foundation (Australia)

Dr C Dassos General Practitioner M.B., B.S. (Australia)

Dr Richard Davies MPsych (Clinical)/PhD, Clinical Psychologist (Australia)

Dr Chrissa Deligianni MD Pediatrician (Greece)

Dr Flavia Donati MD Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalyst (Rome, Italy)

Dr Donal Duffin MB MRCP (London) MRCGP Consultant Physician NHS (retired) (UK)

Dr Iris Eggeling, Specialist in Diagnostics (Radiology and Nuclear Medicine) (Germany)

Dr Leif Elinder, Medical Doctor, Specialist in Paediatric Medicine (Sweden and New Zealand)

Dr William Hogan, MD, Internal Medicine (United States)

Dr Richard House, Psychotherapist (retired), Chartered Psychologist, AFBPsS Cert.Couns (UK)

Dr Vivek Jain, Primary Care Physician, Clinical Instructor, (Psychiatry residency training graduate) (United States)

Dr Kerstin Käll, MD, PhD, specialist in psychiatry, working mainly in addiction medicine at the Psychiatric Clinic, University Hospital, Linköping (Sweden)

Dr Sujeewa Indrajith Karunananda, MBBS, MD (Psychiatry) Acting Psychiatrist, District Base Hospital, Medirigiriya (Sri Lanka)

Dr Ove Johansson, Chief Medical Doctor (Överläkare), formerly at the Karolinska University Hospital (Sweden)

Dr Cath Keaney BSc MBBS DCH FRACGP (Australia)

Dr Anne Lemaire General Medical Practitioner (Belgium and Portugal)

Dr Alberto Gutiérrez Mardones, PhD, Chief Medical Doctor (Överläkare), Karolinska University Hospital (Sweden)

Dr Daniel McQueen, MRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist, Child and Family Department, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Tavistock Centre (UK)

Dr Carine Minne FRCPsych Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy; Psychoanalyst, London (UK)

Dr Maria Ntasiou, MD, Pulmonologist, director in primary health (Greece)

Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Med Dr (Psychiatry, PhD), Professor Emeritus. Former head of Research group on International and Cross-Cultural Injury Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Formerly Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School. Chair, Swedish Doctors for Human Rights -SWEDHR (Sweden)

Dr Lena Oske, Medical Doctor, Specialist in General Medicine, Skåne Health Services (Sweden)

Dr Efstratios Prousalis General Dental Practitioner, DDS 2008, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki (Greece)

Dr Joseph M. Pullara MD Hospitalist Physician Olympic Medical Center and Emergency Medicine Physician Forks Community Hospital Washington (United States)

Professor Anders Romelsjö, Med Dr (PhD), Professor Emeritus. Formerly at the Department of Social Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Vice-Chair, Swedish Doctors for Human Rights -SWEDHR (Sweden)

Dr Maria Rossi MD Specialist in Nephrology San Gerardo Hospital Monza (retired) (Italy)

Dr Lars Sjöstrand, Consultant Psychiatrist, Addiction Center Stockholm (Beroendecentrum Stockholm) (Sweden)

Dr Jean-Pierre Unger MD DTM&H MPH PhD, Associate Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Visiting Professor at the University of Newcastle (Belgium and UK)

Dr Victor John Webster, Surgeon (Upper GI laparoscopic) MB BS (Adel) FRCS(Eng) FRACS (gen surg) Cert HST (RACS Eng) (retired) (Australia)

Dr Steinar Westin MD PhD, Professor of Social Medicine and former General Practitioner (Norway)

Dr Jelena Zagorcic MD, General Medical Practitioner (retired) (Serbia)


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