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Extradition and mental health in the spotlight: the case of Julian Assange.

Arnell, Paul; Forrester, Andrew


Paul Arnell

Andrew Forrester


Approximately 1000 persons are extradited from the UK every year. While this number may lessen on account of Brexit, it is clear that hundreds of individuals will be forcibly removed from the UK, both nationals and non-nationals, to stand trial or be imprisoned abroad. The UK has a duty to take due cognisance of the mental health of requested persons in coming to decisions to extradite. Whilst Julian Assange’s extradition has been barred on account of his mental health, there is no certainty that that decision will stand. While there is undoubtedly a need for research into the interplay of mental health disorders and extradition, this may be a time for root and branch reconsideration of the law and related practice itself. Cooperation between relevant mental health professionals in various countries is one such area that could be enhanced. This could add weight to assurances given by the requesting state and may increase the likelihood that they are adhered to. Related to this, consequences in the event of non-compliance could be agreed between countries, including the potential return of the individual in certain circumstances. As extradition law and practice stand, these important issues are not addressed.


ARNELL, P. and FORRESTER, A. 2021. Extradition and mental health in the spotlight: the case of Julian Assange. Criminal behaviour and mental health [online], 31(2), pages 77-79. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 26, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 13, 2021
Publication Date Apr 30, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 30, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 14, 2022
Journal Criminal behaviour and mental health
Print ISSN 0957-9664
Electronic ISSN 1471-2857
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 2
Pages 77-79
Keywords Extradition; Mental health; United Kingdom; Trial; Imprisonment; Asperger syndrome; Criminal cooperation
Public URL