Julian Assange’s father has urged the Australian government to help his son, calling on them to bring the WikiLeaks founder home, in an interview with an Australian newspaper.
Speaking for the first time since his son’s arrest in London earlier this week, John Shipton told New Corp’s Herald Sun of his “shock” at seeing his son carried out of the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police.
“I saw him – the way they dragged him down the steps, the coppers – he didn’t look good. I’m 74 and I look better than him and he’s 47. It’s such a shock,” he said.
Assange had been holed up inside the embassy for seven years, but Ecuador withdrew his asylum on Thursday.
Video footage captured shortly afterwards showed a heavily-bearded Assange shouting and gesticulating as multiple officers hustled him into a waiting police van.
“For months and months he has been living like a high-security prisoner, he can’t even go to the toilet. There have been cameras watching his every move,” Shipton said.
He called on both the Australian government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take action to help his son “in a nuanced way.”
CNN has confirmed with Assange’s adviser Greg Barns that the quote from Shipton, published in the Herald Sun, are accurate.
His comments come after more than 70 MPs called on UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid to hand Assange over to authorities in Sweden if that country reopens its investigation into rape and sexual assault allegations and requests his extradition. Assange denies the Swedish allegations.
Assange is currently being held at London’s Belmarsh prison, which is known for holding high-profile terror suspects and extremists such as Abu Hamza and Anjem Choudary. The prison, in southeast London, is one of only three high-security local prisons in England and Wales.
Ecuador accused of ‘outrageous allegations’
Meanwhile, Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson has accused Ecuador of making “outrageous allegations” about his time in the country’s London embassy, in an interview with Sky News’ Sophy Ridge.
Foreign Minister José Valencia and Interior Minister María Paula Romo on Thursday accused Assange of riding scooters around the cramped embassy hallways, insulting staff and smearing feces on the walls.
Robinson told Ridge that Ecuador’s claims that Assange misbehaved are “not true.”
She also said Assange is “concerned about the risk of extradition to the US” and only sought asylum when Sweden refused to give assurances that he would not be extradited to the US.
“He is not above the law. He has never been concerned about facing UK justice or even Swedish justice,” Robinson said.