The physical and mental health of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is "highly likely" to deteriorate over time if he remains confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to a medical assessment made public by the whistleblowing organisation. Assange, who entered the embassy in 2012 after being granted political asylum, was the focus of a year-long "psychosocial" and medical assessment that uncovered a slew of issues with his well-being including a severe lack of sunlight, growing chronic pain and a potentially declining mental state.
"Mr Assange's mental health is highly likely to deteriorate over time if he remains in his current situation," stated the report, authored by a doctor whose identity was redacted by WikiLeaks.
It added: "Highly stressful circumstances, with no end in sight, can lead to unpredictable and sometimes very destructive consequences for individuals.
"They may become very ill mentally and physically and carry out desperate acts to try and gain relief. It is urgent that his current circumstances are resolved as quickly as possible."
The 27-page document, which was released alongside a dental assessment and a report detailing a worrying problem with his right shoulder, revealed that due to a lack of light Assange often goes 18 to 22 hours without sleeping until eventually passing out from exhaustion.
It listed a number of risks associated with continued confinement including "severe and chronic anxiety and dread", "enduring personality changes" and "depression or suicide".
Based on his ongoing confinement, the analysis claimed that Assange has felt the effects of a constant police presence outside the small embassy rooms.
The unnamed doctor, who said he believed that Assange "does have a degree of suicidal ideation", added that the "unusual circumstances" has placed the WikiLeaks founder in a precarious situation. "The effects of the situation on Mr Assange's health and well-being are serious and the risks will most certainly escalate with the potential to becoming life threatening if current conditions persist," he said.
A separate analysis related to the main medical report, dated 8 December 2015, noted that Assange had been prescribed a series of painkillers including Voltarol and Paracetamol, the latter of which had to be consumed at the maximum dosage. This, the doctor said, was to help soothe a worsening shoulder condition.
"He experiences constant pain at rest, which is exacerbated by all movements of the shoulder joint," the report revealed. "It is likely that this is a chronic condition in which restriction of movement and pain are likely to worsen, without treatment."
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, one source close to Assange, who was granted anonymity, said the shoulder problem was one of the most troubling aspects of his current condition.
"I spent nearly five hours within the embassy last weekend and his situation is concerning," the source said. "We talked for a few hours and when I hugged him to say goodbye, I could feel a very tense and big knot on his right shoulder. Because he has no access to a medical centre we don't know what that is – but it could possibly be seriously malicious, such as a cancer."
The 2015 medical assessment did not diagnose the issue yet agreed this condition needs to be urgently addressed by medical professionals. However it also noted this was unlikely to occur without Assange being arrested by UK authorities which have promised to apprehend him should he leave Ecuadorian soil.
"At a minimum, it is recommended that his urgent medical complaints regarding the pain in his shoulder be investigated with appropriate equipment," the report concluded. "Mr Assange is in an invidious position of having to decide between his physical health and the risk of being extradited to the United States."
Roughly 48 hours after the release of the medical reports, a Swedish court of appeal made the decision to uphold an arrest warrant for Assange – who remains at the centre of legal proceedings relating to accusations of rape from 2010, which he denies.