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Sep 22, 2020 52 tweets 18 min read Read on X
DAY 11 of #JulianAssange's extradition starting soon. Our live tweets are on this thread.

Join us live at 5pm BST for Joe Lauria's daily courtroom report.

We're in the virtual courtroom, awaiting Judge Baraitser. Camera swings to #JulianAssange, wearing a mask.

Judge arrives
Todays witness is Professor Michael Kopelman. He is in the courtroom, on the stand. He is is Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London.
Defense to Michael Kopelman: You found Mr #Assange to have symptoms of depression and that was there was a high risk of suicide?

MK: Yes, and this condition would be exacerbated in a US prison & with an imminent risk of extradition. He's accutely aware of what he faces
MK My report on Mr #Assange covers most of his life, what he was like when he was younger.

MK In Dec 2019 JA's depression was severe. It lessened by Feb and became acute again with lockdown.
MK I asked Dr Humphries to do a full psychological assessment. He is being treated for depression but is reluctant to talk about this with prison authorities. He has sleep and appetite disorder.
Various doctors have examined #Assange and expressed concern. Post traumatic stress disorder has been noted. The court will hear from another doctor tomorrow on those specifics.
Will an extradition order possibly trigger a suicide attempt. Given his condition, it's probable. This happens in any case in solitary. Prof Baron-Cohen found suicidal ideation 9 times more likely with segregated prisoners. #Assange constantly ruminates on his possible fate.
MK I've culled a list of known risk factors in Mr #Assange's case. One can't make a precise prediction but there are a number of risk indicators in his behaviour.

He will in any case suffer severe psychological harm if extradited.
James Lewis X-exam of Prof Michael Kopelman

Lewis wants to talk about ICD-10. ICD-10 is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO).
MK informs Lewis ICD is politicised but Lewis just wants to discuss level of severity mentioned in the WHO guide-lines.
Lewis: So people recover from episodes of depression?

MK There may be relative or complete recovery. Reading from WHO guidelines re levels... The diagnosis need to be decided by an expert & not done cookbook fashion.

Lewis asks him to close the book (not read it). MK refuses
Lewis reading from ICD definitions of mild, moderate & severe depression. He challenges Kopelman's diagnosis which is the most severe form, where sufferers are "unable to function". Kopelman stands by his diagnosis.

JL You are a neuropsychiatrist?
MK Yes, but not only that.
JL Neuropsychiatry deals with brain injury? You did an MRI scan. Was it normal.

MK Yes, for his age.

JL You give a lot of evidence about the mental health of inmates?
MK Yes, for 30 years

JL You're more an advocate than a psychiatrist
MK An unparliamentary word wld answer that
JL Are you familiar with inmates who may exaggerate their condition?
MK Every time. MK asserts his expertise.

JL Speaks of external motivations - such as a pending extradition - to exaggeration of symptoms.

Defence: Mr #Assange is not accused of malingering.
Lewis: reading a case about 'Pinocchio' tendencies. Prof Kopelman asks if Lewis doesn't have the expertise to diagnose Mr #Assange's condition.

JL" Clinical skills alone are not sufficient to recognise malingering"

MK Behavioural inconsistencies often give it away
Lewis is almost suggesting #Assange has fooled the psychiatrist.

MK No one has challenged the reality of Mr #Assange's symptoms.
Lewis: Malingering & exaggeration of mental health symptom are more often found in prisons.

MK Agrees, & that other settings than prisons are better for diagnoses. Also that "close observation by a clinical team" is required.

Lewis suggesting JA can't be observed closely enough
Lewis discussing #Assange's account to MK of a recent incident in the prison, & the report he made. Lewis is asking if he independently verified the account. The authorities & clinical team, Lewis asserts, did not mention this incident.

MK He reported it to the psychologist too
MK The psychologist did not make any note that she doubted Mr #Assange's account & she has discussed the mater with prison authorities.

Lewis: Did you inform the prison authorities?
MK: I don't think it's my place to do that.
Short break. Lewis is suggesting that #Assange may have been lying when giving his account of an alarming incident to the neuropsychiatrist & psychologist, because it's not in prison record. He established previously with Prof Michael Kopelman that Julian is not delusional.
Lewis evokes another account from #Assange of an incident. It too is not in the prison report. These accounts and others you cite are self-reported by Mr #Assange. Reads from the record the day #Assange admitted to Belmarsh. The practitioner was unable to ask about self-harm...
MK He may have been unresponsive.
Lewis The record says he refused. Why did you leave that out?
MK This is not a comprehensive record. I'm not sure why I left it out
Lewis He was placed on ACTT. What's that?
MK It relates to suicide risk.
Lewis: Record says #Assange wanted to speak w/ his lawyers abt seeing a psychiatrist. Why didn't you put that in your report? You didn't mention JA was reading British Medical Journal? Didn't that ring alarm?

#Assange wants to know abt his medical condition. Always asks lawyers.
Lewis pointing discrepancies between Nicolas Taylor's reports and MK's. They seem to be minor since most of the salient details are mentioned.

Lewis asking why others don't report suicide ideation but that #Assange busy w/ his case & other demands
MK He talks more to me
MK My considered opinion follows the guidelines of the court.

Lewis You advised the prison give him milk and oranges. He likes those. Does that sound like someone who can't function.

MK We were worried about weight loss!
Lewis On May 15 Assange denied having any thoughts of self harm. Notes a day's activities.
MK I wasn't seeing him then.

MK #Assange was very reluctant to talk to most people about his psychological condition because he was frightened of being placed in solitary.
Lewis: Assange played pool. Depressed?
MK: He played pool once, but it is reported as twice. That was before he was taken to the medical wing.

Lewis wants Kopelman to change his diagnosis. Lewis says he has been quoting "independent" reports that contradict #Assange self-reports
MK makes clear to Lewis that #Assange's health and mental condition deteriorated when he was placed in isolation.
MK's reports deal with the period from May 30 to December 2019.
MK spoke w/ a long-term friend of #Assange, Suelette Dreyfus. Lewis challenges MK's report that she spoke about the first time #Assange became depressed (at a time she didn't yet know him).

MK says she spoke of other times & her reports were consistent w/ his own observations.
Lewis But the only medical documentation of #Assange's medical history are from one doctor in 95. It mentions mild depression.

MK Yes it does. There should be another medical report from 1991 but we don't have it. I have no reason to doubt that what Dreyfus & family add is true.
Lewis accuses Kopelman of mis-quoting Suelette Dreyfus re Assange self-harm risk if extradited. Quibbling over wording.

MK She was convinced

Lewis: re MK's telephone conversation w/ Dreyfus after visiting #Assange...
MK: She didn't get to visit him
Lewis picks again at wording
Lewis still challenging Prof Michael Kopelman's reports compared to those of others.

MK reminds the prosecutor that some details of #Assange's medical condition are embarrassing.
Moving on to Kopelman's "reliance" on @NilsMelzer's reports.
MK reminds that Mr Melzer took 2 doctors to examine #Assange.

Lewis reads remarks by Melzer, but MK says he did not include these, thinking they were "a bit extreme" and "political rather than psychiatric".
Lewis reads another passage from @NilsMelzer.
MK I haven't quoted those sections because I considered them "political rather than medical". I used medical information only
Lewis suggests certain statements by Melzer are "nonsense" but MK refuses to comment on what is not relevant
Is #Assange able to function? Lewis says the court reports he was able to follow the proceedings and give instruction.

MK I saw #Assange between May & December last year. Other doctors at the time concurred w/ my opinion

Lewis So he's better now? MK can not answer that question
MK I can't analyse his psychological state from a court report that he adequately answered the question abt whether he consented to extradition

Lewis Let's go back to that symptom of not being able to function. There are interjections from JA indicating he followed proceedings
MK That indicates #Assange is aware of what's going on but it is not a measure of an intact mental state. It would not indicate memory loss. I was talking about severe depression up to December last year. His interjections do not indicate he is operating optimally.
MK mentions test for malingering that have been performed on #Assange.
Lewis: Is that the Minnesota test?
MK No it was the TTOMs test.
Lewis: That's not a test for malingering
MK Excuse me. I am the expert in neuropsychiatry & that is a Test of Malingering. It's an acronym.
James Lewis makes reference to MK's sources in his report.
He criticises MK for not addressing the Kromberg declarations of Mark Feld report.

MK says he only just received them but had managed to read. This are differences of opinion that need to be debated & judged by the court
Lewis cites a number of #Assange's of activities over the years and asks if they are typical of a man w/ depression.

MK Assange engaged in these activities when he was not depressed.

Lewis Reading Kromberg's suicide protocols. MK cites Maureen Baird's counter views to Kromberg
Lewis If medical care in US is sufficient, you would have no concerns.

MK cites numerous reports that it is not.

Lewis asking if #Assange got only 5 years, wasn't segregated, would MK change his opinion.

MK I would have to look at the new situation. This is very hypothetical
Lewis: When asked about suicidal impulse, you said it comes from mental disorder.

MK "Driven by"

Lewis: Wouldn't it follow that since he has got better, there is less impulse?

MK: I said the suicidal impulse still there. It's not a 1 on 1 degree w/ severity of depression.
Psychiatrist Michael Kopelman: I think if extradited, #JulianAssange would find a way to end his life.
Re-Exam of Prof Michael Kopelman.

MK Professor Mullen and I were in agreement regarding Mr #Assange's condition.

MK Regarding the necessity for close clinical observation, there is not much of it done in prisons.
Defence: Re discrepancies suggested by the prosecution between your report about alarming incident and the prison, there is no dispute over the material evidence?

MK No. There are other alarming incidents, including recently. We are concerned.
Defence: You were accused of cherry-picking suitable reports to highlight depression, but you have reported many instances where #Assange is holding up. You repeat exactly what Dr Daly says.

MK Yes. Lewis kept asking about periods I wasn't there. I saw #Assange in isolated cell
Defence: From 13th July, you report on depression, confusion, despair. That Assange requested the Samaritan phone number (suicide line) on an almost daily basis.

MK: From that period to December, my report to the court is very detailed.
Prof Michael Kopelman @SueletteD implied that #JulianAssange's depression dated much further back than I was aware of. The family's accounts concurred with Professor Mullen's from 1995.
Defence: Is the fact of rational thinking at some point inconsistent w/ depression?

We are wondering how #JulianAssange feels, hearing his suicide discussed for many hours.

MK mentions Epstein & @xychelsea

Defence Can suicide protocols prevent suicide?
MK No says Baird
Prof Michael Kopelman: I was a co-author of the 2004 Indefinite Detention report which went to the House of Lords. The conclusion was it should not happen.

End of re-examination
House-keeping. There are 14 witnesses for next week
Tomorrow's are Dr Quinton Deeley & Professor Paul Mullen. Dr Sondra Crosby was envisaged but can't make it tomorrow.

Baraitser hears a discussion about disclosure.
Agreement on non-disclosure of #Assange's medical record

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