‘Oppression, arbitrary detention & torture will happen to journalists if extradition is successful’ – Assange's father
A crowd of supporters have gathered outside London’s Woolwich Crown Court, which will hear arguments from lawyers for US authorities who want Assange extradited on espionage charges that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years behind bars.
“We’re here to vigorously and firmly support Julian in this ten-year-long oppression and political action that’s [reached its] culmination here in Belmarsh,” his father John Shipton told reporters outside the courthouse, which is adjacent to the prison.
Shipton, himself an anti-war activist in his youth, lashed out at “the oppression of journalism [and] the ceaseless malice” directed against his son. He drew attention again to the “ten-year-long arbitrary detention of Julian,” as well as his inhuman and degrading treatment at HM Prison Belmarsh, which amounted to torture, according to UN Rapporteur Nils Melzer.
That is what will happen to journalists, publishers and publications if this extradition, this political extradition of Julian Assange, is successful.
Assange has been kept in London’s top security Belmarsh Prison since he was dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police in April last year. Stripped of Ecuadorian citizenship by pro-Western president Lenin Moreno, he was immediately slapped with 18 charges under the US Espionage Act.
His fate now hangs in the balance, with Judge Vanessa Baraitser hearing arguments for and against his extradition. The hearing is expected to last until Friday, before being postponed until May 18.
Assange’s lawyers have long maintained that he is unlikely to receive a fair trial if handed over to the US, arguing that the espionage case against him is politically motivated.Also on rt.com ‘First they came for Julian, next for you’: Waters, Westwood join massive London rally against Assange extradition (PHOTOS)
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