The father of detained WikiLeaks founder and Australian journalist Julian Assange is touring the Northern Rivers this week.
The Assange family has had close ties to the region for decades, with Mr Assange having studied part of his primary education in the Northern Rivers hinterland.
Mr Shipton spoke last year in Mullumbimby to a sell-out crowd of around three hundred and says it ‘feels like coming home’ when he visits the area.
The father of the famous detained WikiLeaks founder and Australian journalist has recently returned from Europe, where he has spent the year campaigning for his son’s freedom.
‘Psychological torture’ of Australian journalist continues
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, defines Mr Assange’s detention as ‘psychological torture’.
Mr Assange has been locked inside London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison for more than eighteen months while the United States government continues to fight for his extradition.
Mr Shipton says COVID-19 has infected the jail, including the cellmate next-door to Mr Assange, who has a ‘high-risk’ vulnerability to the virus strain.
Charges against the WikiLeaks founder were revised this year, not long before hearings in the extradition case started.
The journalist is now officially accused of spying in a case described by Assange advocates as a ‘show trial’.
Legal heavyweights, federal MPs back Assange
One of the Australian lawyers advising Mr Assange’s campaign is the high-profile Greg Barns SC.
Mr Barns says the Australian government has no excuse for failing to demand Mr Assange’s return to Australia, especially since it recently negotiated the release of Australian political prisoner Kylie Moore Gilbert from Iran.
Twenty-four federal politicians have joined a cross-parliamentary group in support of bringing Mr Assange ‘home’ and locally, the Byron Shire Council voted earlier this year to support the movement.
Mr Shipton spoke in the Nimbin Town Hall Tuesday evening alongside long-time democracy advocate Ciaron O’Reilly.
The pair are due to speak in a Bay FM presented forum in the Mullumbimby Civic Hall this Friday night from 7.30 pm, with former New South Wales magistrate David Heilpern joining the panel.
A smaller event is to happen Sunday afternoon from 4pm in Byron Bay’s Marvel Hall, with former ABC journalist Mick O’Regan assisting Bay FM’s Community Newsroom in facilitating questions.
Tickets are strictly limited due to public health order limits and are available via turningpointtalks.com, with any money left over after tour costs are paid to go to Bay FM community radio.
This week’s tour is supported by Echo Publications, North Coast Events and Northern Rivers NSW 4 Assange.
You can hear past interviews with Mr Shipton via Bay FM’s Community Newsroom at bayfm.org.
♦ Mia Armitage is a Bay FM member