Julian Assange’s brother and father speak out on his detention and call for charges to be dropped
Julian Assange’s family talk about his detention in Belmarsh, a high-security prison in the UK, the pressure to extradite him to the US following the release of classified documents and a new documentary about his case , pointing out that his prosecution could have a chilling effect on press freedom.
The WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen faces up to 175 years in a US maximum-security prison if extradited and will face multiple charges, including espionage.
Assange is accused of publishing classified information detailing crimes committed by the US government in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, Iraq and Afghanistan, and uncovering instances in which the CIA has engaged in torture and refunds.
John and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s father and brother, said he was not close to being released from prison but was receiving more support from the international community.
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“We have a rising tide of support around the world,” John Shipton said Thursday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Shipton added that the Australian government had become more active in advocating for her son’s release.
“We characterized the previous government election in Australia as an Assange government because each of the successful candidates, Independents and Greens stood on a platform to bring Assange home to Australia,” he said. .
Host Tucker Carlson asked Gabriel Shipton who was preventing Assange from being released from prison.
“Well, the National Security DOJ is behind this lawsuit against Julian,” he replied. “I think if they looked at this again and realized that they were suing someone for doing what journalists do every day – publish. Or what they should do – publish without fear or favor – then they would realize that this lawsuit has to come to an end and they should listen to media outlets like yours, as well as the New York Times, as well as many other groups, human rights groups , free press groups and First Amendment advocates who are all calling for these lawsuits to be dropped because of the threat he poses to the First Amendment in the United States.”
Multiple outlets, including the Guardian, New York Times, Le Monde and Der Spiegel, wrote an open letter last year calling on the US to end the prosecution of Assange over press freedom concerns. .
Amnesty International, one of the largest human rights organisations, has strongly condemned Assange’s possible extradition to the United States.
“Julian Assange’s publication of leaked documents in the course of his work with Wikileaks should not be punishable as such activity reflects the conduct that investigative journalists routinely undertake in their professional capacity,” reads in part a press release from the organization. “Prosecuting Julian Assange on these charges could have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression, leading journalists to censor themselves for fear of prosecution.”
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John Shipton added that he did not understand why the US government would argue for free speech under the First Amendment, but then go after someone who worked as a journalist.
“The reason why they want to truncate their magnificent gift to humanity beat us. But we keep going and we keep getting more and more support,” he told Carlson.
John and Gabriel shared that their documentary on Assange’s work and detention, “Ithaka”, is screened in 52 locations across the United States.
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“So people (can) come in, they can get the whole story and ask a question about anything they doubt or want to know more about,” John Shipton said.
Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this report