| Professor Nils Melzer |
|Interest of||"Philip Cross"|
Nils Melzer is Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, and also holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (2011–2013).
Since 1 November 2016, Professor Nils Melzer has been serving as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
On 31 May 2019, Professor Melzer condemned the "collective persecution" of Julian Assange:
- “In the course of the past nine years, Mr Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.
- “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”
In July 2010, Wikileaks published Cablegate, one of the biggest leaks in the history of the US military, including evidence for war crimes and torture. In the aftermath Julian Assange, the founder and spokesman of Wikileaks, found himself at the centre of a media storm, accused of hacking and later sexual assault.
He spent the next seven years in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fearful that he would be extradited to Sweden to face the accusations of assault and then sent to US. In 2019, Assange was handed over to the British police and, on the same day, the US demanded his extradition. They threatened him with up to 175 years in prison for alleged espionage and computer fraud.
At this point, Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, started his investigation into how the US and UK governments were working together to ensure a conviction. His findings are explosive, revealing that Assange has faced grave and systematic due process violations, judicial bias, collusion and manipulated evidence. He has been the victim of constant surveillance, defamation and threats.
Melzer also gathered together consolidated medical evidence that proves that the prisoner has suffered prolonged psychological torture. Melzer’s compelling investigation puts the UK state into the dock, showing how, through secrecy, impunity and, crucially, public indifference, unchecked power reveals a deeply undemocratic system. Furthermore, the Assange case sets a dangerous precedent: once telling the truth becomes a crime, censorship and tyranny will inevitably follow.
In the 1980s, Peter Wright's book "Spycatcher" was published first in Australia. Its allegations proved scandalous on publication, but more so because the British Government attempted to ban it, ensuring its profit and notoriety.
In an apparent inversion of the position with "Spycatcher", Nils Melzer tweeted on 6 August 2022:
The Guardian reported on 5 August 2022:
Security staff at Parliament House in Canberra seized copies of a book about Julian Assange from his family members as they entered the building to meet MPs on Thursday, deeming it “protest material”.
They were carrying copies of a book on Assange’s case by Nils Melzer, the former United Nations special rapporteur on torture, which they intended to give to MPs and media.
But Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, said parliament security refused to let the family take the book into the building, because they deemed it to be “protest material”.
|UK/US persecuting Julian Assange|
Nils Melzer has previously served for 12 years with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as Delegate, Deputy Head of Delegation and Legal Adviser in various zones of conflict and violence.
After leaving the ICRC, Nils Melzer held academic positions as Research Director of the Swiss Competence Centre on Human Rights (University of Zürich), as Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor on Emerging Security Challenges (Geneva Centre for Security Policy). He has was also Senior Adviser for Security Policy at the Political Directorate of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Education and career
- “Targeted Killing in International Law” (Oxford University Press, 2008)
- “Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law” (Geneva: ICRC, 2009).
- "Cyberwarfare and International Law" (Geneva: UNIDIR, 2011)
- With Hans-Peter Gasser: "Humanitäres Völkerrecht – Eine Einführung", 2nd ed. (Zürich: Schulthess, 2012).
- With Michael N. Schmitt (ed.) et al., “Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare” (Cambridge: University Press, 2013).
- “International Humanitarian Law - a Comprehensive Introduction” (Geneva: ICRC, 2016).
- "The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution" (Verso Books, 2022)
A Document by Nils Melzer
|Title||Document type||Publication date||Subject(s)||Description|
|Document:UN expert says "collective persecution" of Julian Assange must end now||Report||31 May 2019||Sweden|
|“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” Professor Melzer said. “The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!"|
Event Participated in
|International Festival of Whistleblowing Dissent and Accountability||8 May 2021||8 May 2021||Internet||Whistleblowing event held in 2021.|
|Document:Assange Bail Application Today||blog post||25 March 2020||Craig Murray||If the authorities now refuse to allow him out on bail during the COVID-19 outbreak, I do not see how anybody can possibly argue there is any intention other than to cause his death.|
|Document:Council of Europe sides with Julian Assange||Article||Sara Chessa||The attitude of European institutions is changing after years of silence which seemed to authorise or support the US and the United Kingdom’s behaviour in relation to an individual who is apparently deprived of the right to prepare his defence and deprived as well of his right to dignified psychophysical conditions. Now, the Council of Europe has decided to speak up on behalf of Julian Assange.|
|Document:Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed||Article||18 February 2020||John Pilger||Sarah Ferguson's interview made no mention of a leaked document, revealed by WikiLeaks, called 'Libya Tick Tock', prepared for Hillary Clinton, which described her as the central figure driving the destruction of the Libyan state in 2011. This resulted in 40,000 deaths, the arrival of ISIS in North Africa and the European refugee and migrant crisis.|
- "UN expert says 'collective persecution' of Julian Assange must end now"
- "The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution"
- "How Not to Silence a Spy"
- "Worrying news suggesting Australia is blacklisting my book"
- "Assange family barred from taking book about WikiLeaks founder into Australia’s parliament"
- "Dr Nils Melzer
- "Introduction, Dr. Nils Melzer, Legal Adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross, 'Targeted Killing in International Law'"
- "Targeted Killing in International Law"