Mia Armitage* with Dr John Jiggens
Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, says a possible deal to have the detained Wikileaks founder brought to Australia is a trick.
Mr Shipton returned earlier this month from a four-week speaking tour of seventeen cities in the United States, where he was trying to solidify solidarity for his son and pressure the government to drop its extradition claim.
British High Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled earlier this year against a US extradition request for the WikiLeaks founder to face hacking charges.
Judge Baraitser said at the time she believed Mr Assange was a suicide risk, and referred to exacerbating conditions he would be subjected to in the US prison system.
But lawyers for the US said they planned to appeal and hopes a change in the country’s presidency would change their mind were soon dampened when President Jo Biden’s administration announced it was proceeding with the case.
US wins right to appeal UK Assange extradition request
Some analysts had thought an appeal unlikely or even impossible due to Judge Baraitser having relied on her discretion when deciding the initial extradition request.
But in early July, the UK High Court granted the US the right to appeal.
Lawyers for the US said Judge Baraitser ought to have sought assurances for Mr Assange’s safety in the US prison system during the extradition trial.
They also said Mr Assange would be able to serve a potential US jail sentence in Australia.
But Mr Shipton says both arguments are tricks.
WikiLeaks founder could spend up to 20 years in US solitary confinement, says father
So-called Special Administrative Measures [SAMS] in the US meant authorities there could have Mr Assange arbitrarily detained in solitary confinement indefinitely if they suspected he would ‘reveal the name of a United States agent to a prisoner or to anybody else,’ Mr Shipton told Bay FM’s Community Newsroom.
Australians given jail sentences in either the US or the UK already had the right to serve their time on home soil, Mr Shipton said, but US law dictated that all avenues of appeal must be exhausted first.
Mr Shipton said by the time the appeals process of three courts in the UK [the High Court, Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights] was combined with those in the US, Mr Assange could easily face up to twenty years in jail overseas.
‘The average time that it takes to get to the Supreme Court in the United States is between ten and fifteen years,’ Mr Shipton told Community Newsroom reporter Dr John Jiggens, ‘it’s just tricks, horrible, vile continuing of a persecution of Julian Assange’.
*Mia Armitage is a Bay FM member