Julian Assange's father calls for Australian authorities to do more to help bring him home
JC News|April. 14, 2019
The father of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on the Australian government to help his son and suggested he could be brought back to his home country.
John Shipton, who lives in Melbourne, urged prime minister Scott Morrison to step in following Assange's arrest in London last week.
He told News Corp Australia that Mr Morrison and the country's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) "should in a nuanced way do something".
He also said he was shocked at the appearance of his son as he was hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday.
Mr Shipton said: "It can be resolved simply to the satisfaction of all. There has been some talk in a meeting between a senator and a senior DFAT official to extradite Julian to Australia."
Mr Morrison has previously said Assange, an Australian citizen, will have consular assistance available to him but will not get "special treatment".
"I saw him, the way they dragged him down the steps, the coppers - he didn't look good," he added.
"I'm 74 and I look better than him and he's 47. It's such a shock."
In Britain, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Assange should answer questions about sexual assault allegations in Sweden.
The comments came after more than 70 Parliamentarians signed a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid urging the Government to ensure Assange faces Swedish authorities if they request his extradition.
Mr Corbyn told Sky News: "If there are allegations which Julian Assange needs to answer of sexual issues, sexual attacks that may or may not have taken place in Sweden, then it's a matter for the courts to decide.
"But, I do think he should answer those questions.
"My objection was to his extradition to the United States because I do believe that WikiLeaks told us the truth about what was actually happening in Afghanistan and in Iraq."
The letter to the Home Secretary was organised by Labour MP Stella Creasy and stated: "We are writing to request that you do everything you can to champion action that will ensure Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in the event Sweden make an extradition request.
"This would be so the formal investigation into an allegation of rape can be concluded and, if appropriate, a charge can be made and any trial can take place.
"We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done.
"We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can now be properly investigated."
The rape allegation has a limitation period which expires in August 2020, it added.
Assange spent almost seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought political asylum in 2012.
This followed defeat in his legal battle against extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted over two separate allegations, one of rape and one of molestation.
In May 2017, Sweden's top prosecutor dropped the long-running inquiry into a rape claim against Assange, which he has always denied.
But his arrest prompted the lawyer for a Swedish woman who alleged she was raped by Assange during a visit to Stockholm in 2010 to say they wanted the case reopened.
Prosecutors in Sweden have since confirmed that, while the investigation has not been resumed, they are looking into the case.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock told the BBC: "Mr Assange is accused of rape and sexual violence in Sweden and it's vital that that doesn't get airbrushed out of the conversation because of all the other issues to do with WikiLeaks.
"I think the top priority, as we say in our letter, is to ensure that if the Swedish authorities wish to have him extradited there to face those charges, they must take priority above all else."
Writing in The Observer, Labour MP Jess Phillips said the allegations against Assange in Sweden were "the first and most pressing case he should answer".
"The UK government should support his extradition to Sweden before they even begin to consider any pressure from the US," she wrote.