The father of Julian Assange says the extradition of the co-founder of Wikileaks akin to a death sentence
Julian Assange’s father says that the extradition of Wikileaks co-founder to the US is related to a death sentence
- John Shipton said he feared the worst for his son’s health if he were to be extradited
- The rendition of Julian Assange will open in London next week
- It will open against a background of allegations about his treatment in prison
Extradition of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US would be related to sentencing him to death, his father said.
John Shipton said he feared the worst for his son’s health if American lawyers won their battle to accuse Assange of leaked defense cables ten years ago.
Assange’s extradition session will open in London next week, although it is unlikely that a decision will be pronounced for several months – and even then it is likely that the losing party would appeal.
The hearing will take place against a backdrop of allegations from Assange’s supporters about his treatment in the Belmarsh prison, including a spell in solitary confinement, they said.
John Shipton (photo) said he feared the worst for his son’s health if US lawyers won their battle to accuse Assange of leaked defense ropes ten years ago.
After a press conference in central London, Mr. Shipton said: “The rendition is a death sentence – it is the culmination of 10 years of lies, every form of physiological torture.
“His condition has improved, I saw him last week.
‘They have a (fitness) schedule (at Belmarsh) – you could hardly say that it is fresh air.
“They are four walls with a grid on top and you can stand in the rain.”
When asked if his son’s treatment amounted to torture, Mr. Shipton said, “Absolutely.”
He added: “The rendition should be withdrawn immediately.
“If that is not done, the minister concerned can call me and I go to jail and pick up Julian because I have a house here … he has substantial support in the community so he can come home and fight his case against house arrest or bail. It is not a problem.’
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court, London, where he appeared for an administrative hearing regarding his extradition to the United States in January earlier this year
Mr. Shipton said that images of his son “being dragged out of the (Ecuadorian) embassy” – where he took refuge for several years against extradition to Sweden for allegations of sexual abuse that he denied and then dropped – were the lowest moment of the last 10 years.
But he said he was able to offer a bit of frivolity during his prison visits by “gossip” about women.
He said: “Usually we gossip a little about friends, and children and the women in our lives and the mothers of our children, that brings the fruits of ordinary life to prison.”
Mr. Shipton refused to explain any love interest to his son, following earlier speculations that linked him to former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, one of his many celebrity supporters.
But he said such controversial support helped keep Assange’s case at the forefront of people.
He said: “I imagine that Julian finds it moralizing and useful.
“I imagine his morality may increase because controversial supporters say that newspapers and television channels are reporting, noticing journalists, and becoming assistants in reporting what happened.”
Mr. Shipton said that he and his son are planning to conquer the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route after the release of Assange.
He said: ‘Julian decided to do it without me – he does it without me in his cell.
“I hope we do it together in 18 months.”