Julian Assange diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and autism, Internet calls extradition 'abuse by state'

Top expert, Dr Quinton Deeley, diagnosed the WikiLeaks founder with Asperger's syndrome after he conducted six hours of phone calls with the 49-year-old in Belmarsh prison


                            Julian Assange diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and autism, Internet calls extradition 'abuse by state'
(Getty Images)

A neuropsychiatrist, during Julian Assange's extradition hearing on Wednesday, September 23, said that it was "clear" that the WikiLeaks founder was on the autism spectrum and would find extradition "unbearable." The expert, Dr Quinton Deeley, diagnosed Assange with Asperger's syndrome after he conducted six hours of phone calls with the 49-year-old in Belmarsh prison and witnessed a two-hour autism assessment. 

Assange is currently fighting extradition to the United States, where he faces an 18-count indictment alleging a plan to hack computers and conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information. "To my mind, it's clear Mr Assange presents as a person with an autistic spectrum condition," Dr Deeley, who gave evidence to the court, after speaking to Assange's parents during his assessment, said. "He's an intelligent person, he's learnt to adapt to some of those characteristics," the expert continued, adding that Assange "would find [extradition] an unbearable ordeal." Dr Deeley also said that should he be extradited, it was likely that the 49-year-old may take his own life. The expert's opinion comes after psychiatrist Professor Michael Kopelman on Tuesday, September 22, said that Assange had started preparations to end his own life, which included drafting a will, confessing to a Catholic priest, drafting farewell letters to his family members. 

Shortly after Assange's diagnosis became public, many people took to social media to sympathize with and support the WikiLeaks founder, while some expressed shock. Assange's mother also took to Twitter, seeking help from Autism groups across the world to help save her child. Christine Assange wrote: "My son, journalist #JulianAssange is diagnosed by a world expert as being on the Autism spectrum. Those who know him personally are not surprised by this. I call on #Autism groups to help me protect Julian from furthur abuse by the state. #SaveJulian"



 

One social media user wrote: "It is unconscionable that there is not a single mention of the fact that the mental, emotional & physical abuse, solitary confinement, no sunlight/excercise/fresh air, he has been subjected to by the US persecution has been a major factor causing his illness & depression". While another said: "People on the spectrum are also more prone to PTSD & it would be shocking if he didn't have PTSD, especially Legal Abuse Syndrome which is a subcategory of Post Traumatic Stress with the highest rate of severe depression, anxiety & suicide of all the subcategories." A third wrote: "Honesty is in the nature of an authist. For this reason, it is a danger to all who cannot hide in the light of the truth. As I count myself among them, I am all the more shaken by the idea of what causes Julian’s isolation. We need space, retreat, honesty and clear structures."



 



 



 

The Old Bailey on Wednesday, however, was told that Assange refused to complete at least two components of the autism test, including a task to act out brshing his teeth and answering questions about his "self-care" routine because he found them "demeaning." Dr Deeley then described Assange as "an intelligent person" who shares characteristics of "many high-functioning people on the autistic spectrum', including engineers and computer scientists. The expert said that the 49-year-old has "difficulty discussing his own emotions," with a "primary focus on his own thoughts and interests" and noted a "failure to initiate or sustain" conversations.

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