Vice-president of the Australian Medical Association Dr Stephen Parnis is concerned for Julian Assange’s health:

“You can de-condition relatively quickly, lose muscle bulk, lose bone-mineral density and some of your cardio respiratory fitness or aerobic fitness.

“If you do lose bone-mineral density, it isn’t easy necessarily to get that back.

“That may manifest itself in years to come with things like fractures. If you are confined indoors for a prolonged period of time, it does carry significant risk.

“People have this after prolonged hospital admissions. That’s why good rehabilitation is so important.”

And mentally?

“We are meant to move about and interact with people.

“While you can do things to mitigate that, whether it be exercise, careful attention to diet, and even issues do with your psychological wellbeing… (you) still would require a transition to move back into a normal way of being.

“You can do things to mitigate some of those harms – but it isn’t good for anyone to be locked away for such a long period of time.”

Dr Parnis said he was amazed at the resilience Mr Assange had demonstrated and that it took a certain degree of patience, fortitude and the ability to suffer or endure things that many other people wouldn’t.

Most people don’t get themselves accused of rape and then go into self-imposed multi-year confinement in a foreign embassy to avoid having to face possible consequences.

Meanwhile, a voice of sanity, at the Guardian of all places, on the ruling by the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:

Mark Ellis, executive director of the London-based International Bar Association, said a finding by the UN panel in Assange’s favour “would seem to contradict a fairly extensive legal process both in the UK and in Sweden”.

Ellis added: “It’s important to maintain adherence to rule of law principles and ensure that individuals have to abide by legal rulings. It’s surprising to think that Assange could be exempted from those principles. The ruling by the UN panel is not binding on British law.

“It would, however, provide Assange with support for his claim that he should not be extradited. I’m sure the UK is trying to figure a way out. It would be difficult for me to think that there should be an exception [from the European arrest warrant] for this case.”

 Assange obviously thinks he’s above the law and should live out his days in the Ecuadorian embassy if he refuses to submit to legal process.

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