Julian Assange is hearing voices and has already written suicide notes to his loved ones — putting him at “very high” risk of killing himself if extradited to the US, a psychiatrist told a UK court.
Michael Kopelman, a professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, said the Wikileaks founder has an “intense suicidal preoccupation” while awaiting the decision on whether he will be sent to the US where he faces up to 175 years’ prison on espionage charges.
“He’s made various plans and undergone various preparations, such as confessed to the Catholic priest, who granted him absolution, began to draft farewell letters to family members and close friends,” Kopelman told London’s Old Bailey criminal court Tuesday.
“He’s drawn up a will,” Kopelman said, while also noting “an abundance of known risk factors” including a family history of depression and suicide.
Kopelman said the 49-year-old hacker had experienced “auditory hallucinations” in which he heard “derogatory and persecutory” voices.
“The voices are things like, ‘you are dust, you are dead, we are coming to get you,’” he told the hearing.
Under cross-examination, Kopelman said he was always alert to the possibility a patient might be “malingering” or exaggerating.
The extradition hearing in London began Sept. 7 and is due to last until early October, with Judge Vanessa Baraitser likely to take weeks or months to consider her decision.
With Post wires
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