Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

A UN human rights investigator said Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has suffered psychological torture and should be free from extradition to the United States.

What's happening: After years of fleeing prosecution for leaking classified information through his site, Assange is currently serving time in British custody and facing potential extradition to the U.S. for espionage. He's also facing possible extradition to Sweden, where he would face an investigation into rape allegations.

UN Investigator Nils Melzer visited Assange in prison earlier this month and said that the series of campaigns and actions against Assange "can only be described as psychological torture."

"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..."
— Nils Melzer in a statement

Melzer was accompanied on his trip by 2 medical experts specializing in cases of torture and ill-treatment. According to the statement, the team found that Assange is exhibiting severe stress, chronic anxiety and psychological trauma.

What's next: Melzer urged the British government not to extradite Assange to the U.S. or any country that would not pledge to safeguard Assange from American extradition. He also reminded the United Kingdom of Assange's right to legal resources, which Melzer says have been limited.

Go deeper... Timeline: Julian Assange's 9-year legal limbo reaches its climax

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What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
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  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.