World · August 3, 2022

Julian Assange’s family “lives in fear” will not survive the extradition process

This story contains references to suicide.
Julian Assange’s family says he is “unwell” as he remains in a UK maximum security prison as he fights an extradition sentence, fearing he may not survive the trial.
The Wikileaks founder has been held in London’s Belmarsh prison since 2019 after the United States took legal action to extradite him for leaking confidential military documents more than ten years ago.
He is hot but his brother Gabriel Shipton said his family “lives in fear” that “they won’t survive the whole trial.”
That same month, his attorney Edward Fitzgerald about his chronic depression and Asperger’s syndrome had he been sent to the United States where he could have served a 170-year prison sentence, although lawyers say he would be more likely to face four to six years in prison.
More recently, Australian Doctors for Assange said the 51-year-old “suffered from severe cardiovascular and stress-related medical conditions that were life-threatening” and could die in the coming months.

“Belmarsh is a maximum security prison. If you have a stroke in your cell and you are alone, there is no one to call the emergency services for you,” said Gabriel.

People with signs reading "FREE ASSAULT".  A person speaks into a megaphone.

Julian Assange supporters during a protest in central London, UK, on ​​1 July 2022. sources: AAP, EPO / Andy Rain

“So it’s very worrying that Assange’s doctors say he’s likely to have another stroke. So he has to get out of prison before it’s too late.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in December 2021, when he was leader of the opposition, that he does not see the purpose of Assange’s “ongoing prosecution” and that “enough”.

Since his victory in the federal election, he has been unavailable on the matter, saying he would not be forced to publicly intervene in the case and would address the matter through diplomatic channels.

But Assange’s father, John Shipton, said he’s not sure the government is lobbying in the background.
“They didn’t contact us,” John said.
“No one has contacted me. In fact, they seem to be making a lot of effort not to contact me.”
He wants Albanese to “answer the phone and … resolve the matter”, fearing for his son, who according to him “is not well”.
Assange’s brother said that even though they haven’t heard from the federal government yet, Albanese’s comments were “very encouraging”.

“We are confident that there is more support and from the prime minister’s statements, ‘enough’ and that ‘he does not see what purpose Julian has served in prison are very encouraging,” said Gabriel.

Assange’s submission to the UK High Court is his latest appeal after a three-year legal battle over attempts to extradite him to the United States, where he is wanted on 18 counts, including espionage and hacking.
Australian and world politicians have been called for his release, including independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie, who was a staunch supporter of the founder of Wikileaks.
“This has been going on long enough, it’s time to put an end to the problem,” Wilkie said in July.
In the same month, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote in a letter to US President Joe Biden that Assange’s imprisonment and renewed a previous asylum offer.
SBS News contacted the Albanese office for comment.
Readers seeking crisis support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people up to 25 years old). More information and mental health support can be found at and 1300 224 636.
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