There are references to suicide in this story.
Julian Assange’s family say he is “unwell” as he remains in a British maximum security prison, challenging his extradition decision, fearing he may not survive the process.
The Wikileaks founder has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison since 2019 after the United States sued for his extradition over a leak of classified military documents more than a decade ago.
he appeals but his brother Gabriel Shipton said his family “live in fear” that he “won’t survive the whole process”.
In the same month, his lawyer Edward Fitzgerald about his chronic depression and Asperger’s if he is sent to the United States, where he faces 170 years in prison – though lawyers there say he will likely face four to six years in prison.
More recently, Australian doctors working with Assange said the 51-year-old “suffers from severe life-threatening cardiovascular and stress-related illnesses” and could die in the coming months.
“Belmarsh is a maximum security prison. If you have a stroke in a cell and you are left alone, no one can call an ambulance for you,” Gabriel said.
Supporters of Julian Assange at a protest in central London, UK, July 1, 2022. Source: AARP, EPA / Andy Rain
“So it’s very worrying that Assange’s doctors are saying he’s likely to have another stroke. So he needs to get out of jail before it’s too late.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that in December 2021, when he was leader of the opposition, he said he did not see the goal of the “continued persecution” of Assange and that “enough is enough”.
After his victory in the federal elections, he did not speak out on this issue, saying that he would not be pressured to interfere publicly in the matter, and he would resolve this issue through diplomatic channels.
But Mr 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 contacted me. In fact, they seem to be putting in a lot of effort not to mess with me.”
He wants Mr. Albanese to “pick up the phone and … resolve the issue” as he fears for his son, who he says is “unwell.”
Mr. Assange’s brother said that while they had not yet heard from the federal government, Mr. Albanese’s comments were “very encouraging.”
“We are sure there is more support and the Prime Minister’s statements that ‘enough is enough’ and that he ‘doesn’t see the purpose’ of having Julian in prison is very encouraging,” Gabriel said.
Mr. Assange’s submission to the UK High Court is his last appeal after a three-year legal battle over attempts to extradite him to the US, where he is wanted on 18 charges, including espionage and hacking.
Australian and global politicians are calling for his release, including Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who is a strong supporter of the founder of Wikileaks.
“This has been going on long enough, it’s time to put an end to it,” Mr. Wilkie said in July.
That same month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wrote in a letter to US President Joe Biden that Assange’s imprisonment and renewed the previous offer of asylum to him.
SBS News has contacted Mr. Albanese’s office for comment.
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