Julian Assange’s Father Solicits Support in Berlin

On the 8th October 2020, Christine Dankbar reports (Google translation from original German)

John Shipton has supported his son for years. He visited the Bundestag for this on Thursday.

The hearing about the fate of his son Julian Assange is over, now it is time for John Shipton to travel again. He has been in Berlin since Tuesday and has met with members of the various parliamentary groups. On Thursday morning, he was sitting in the left-wing parliamentary room in the Bundestag and explaining to the few journalists who came how important it was to support his son in the extradition proceedings.

The almost four-week hearing in front of the Old Bailey court in London did not leave the 76-year-old unaffected. As if to make sure of himself, he lists the cities and countries where members of parliament have assured him of their support: France, Spain, Greece and of course Germany. Because there was also a conversation with MPs from almost all parliamentary groups in Berlin the evening before. “The support is growing,” says Shipton, smiling a little. Turning to the journalists, he said: “If you support Julian, you will help yourself.” The process that the United States brought against his son is directed against freedom of the press itself. If he is convicted, every journalist who works investigative could soon be tried in the USA for espionage. “The USA is working on to suppress all criticism of their practices, ”he is convinced. It is now the eleventh year in which Assange has to defend himself against arbitrariness and persecution.

At least as far as the extradition proceedings against the WikiLeaks founder in London are concerned, an end is in sight. After almost four weeks of hearing many witnesses, most of whom named the defence, the proceedings were interrupted at the end of last week. The defence now has four weeks to formulate its plea, after which the prosecution will respond. The judgment on January 4th should also be in writing.

The process, which was accompanied by demonstrations in London, Paris and Rome, had been suspended for months due to Corona. Assange is imprisoned in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison, notorious for its harsh conditions. John Shipton said on Thursday that he has now been transferred to a different department that is geared for prisoners over 50 years of age. He is allowed to receive a visit once a month for 40 minutes in protective clothing because of the corona pandemic. “Hugs and any physical contact are forbidden.” Otherwise he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. For some social contact, Julian goes to the prison services, especially those of the Christians and Buddhists, as these last the longest.

Left party members of the Bundestag Sevim Dagedelen and Heike Hänsel have followed Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings from the start. On Thursday, they again criticized the circumstances of the procedure, which took place virtually in camera because of the restrictive access. “But the process does not only have a legal side,” said Sevim Dagdelen. Politicians are free in their decisions and can decide not to implement the extradition even after a corresponding judgment. She described Assange as a “dissident of the West” and demanded commitment from the federal government in his case.

Original article in Berliner Zeitung (in German)