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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

Go deeper

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.