Assange's family call on Germany to take up his cause

By: AFP
Published: 10:08 PM, 20 Jun, 2022
Assange's family call on Germany to take up his cause
Caption: Assange's family call on Germany to take up his cause.
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Julian Assange's father and brother on Monday called on the German government to ask US President Joe Biden to drop the case against the WikiLeaks founder.

"The German government should express to President Biden their concern about this case and they should request that it should be dropped," said Gabriel Shipton, Assange's brother, at a press briefing in Berlin. 

The British government on Friday approved Assange's extradition to the United States, to the dismay of his supporters and free press campaigners.

He is wanted to face trial for violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010 and could face up to 175 years in jail if found guilty.

The Assange case has become a cause celebre for media freedom and his supporters accuse Washington of trying to muzzle reporting of legitimate security concerns.

"I've always felt that acquiescence, doing nothing, is complicity. Being invisible in the case of Julian Assange is complicity," said Assange's father John Shipton, also at the press briefing.

The pair called on Germany to use its influence in NATO and the upcoming Group of Seven leaders' meeting in Bavaria to push Assange's cause.

"When you're attempting to speak to Russia about press freedom (but also) endorsing the extradition of a journalist and publisher for doing their job, you lose standing in these situations," Gabriel Shipton added.

A legal process

Assange's brother and father were due to attend a meeting in the German foreign ministry later on Monday and on Tuesday will meet members of a parliamentary group formed in support of Assange

But government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Monday said he could not see how Germany would intervene on a political level in legal proceedings in another country.

"This is a legal process that is already in motion, so I would be a little wary of political intervention," he said, adding that Germany would continue to keep a close eye on the case.

Assange has been held on remand at a top-security jail in southeast London since 2019 for jumping bail in a previous case accusing him of sexual assault in Sweden.

Before that he spent seven years at Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid being removed to Sweden.

He was arrested when the government changed in Quito and his diplomatic protection was removed.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.