Assange was diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack following one of his High Court appeal appearances via video link back on October 27, the mother of his two children revealed to the Mail on Sunday. Also called a ministroke, TIA is often seen as a warning sign of a possible major stroke in future and requires medical attention. Assange has since had an MRI scan and is now reportedly taking anti-stroke medication.
“Julian is struggling and I fear this ministroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on,” Moris said.
The UK High Court on Friday granted the US’ request to extradite Assange, a request it had previously blocked due to Assange’s declining mental health. While the ruling is not final and can be appealed by Assange’s legal team, it brings the former WikiLeaks boss one step closer to a trial on US soil, where he faces a possible 175 years behind bars if convicted of espionage.
“The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally,” Moris added.
Assange’s plight and declining health have long been recognized by free speech and press freedom activists, and the deprivations endured by Assange during his years in detention have been criticized by human rights organizations.
In 2019, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, whose team visited Assange in Belmarsh, said that he showed “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture.”