Sala Redenção, a cinema at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), was packed to welcome John Shipton and journalist Leandro Demori. Campaigning for his son’s freedom, he came to promote the documentary Ithaka – Assange’s Struggle, by Ben Lawrence, which premieres in Brazil this Thursday (31).
:: Premiere of the documentary about Julian Assange will be screened this Thursday (24) at Sala Redenção ::
At the end of the film screening, the audience applauded the arrival of John, who visited several Brazilian capitals for pre-releases. After the conversation with Assange’s father, Leandro Demori informed that the next important events in Julian’s case will take place in October.
“It’s the next phase of this battle, a next court decision in Britannia America. The Brazilian government will form a commission to invite Julian and John, so that Julian can live in Brazil, when he is released,” he said. And he even joked that Assange said he would like to go and live in Mexico, but that he would argue that Brazil is further away from the USA.
Born in Australia, Julian Assange founded the organization WikiLeaks in 2006, specializing in analyzing and publishing censored or restricted documents involving sensitive subjects such as war and espionage. In 2010, the website released secret documents from the US Army and, after these leaks, US authorities began to criminally investigate it.
In 2019, after living in asylum for seven years at the Ecuadorian Embassy, he was arrested in England, in a maximum security prison. His arrest has been described by his father as “a murder in slow motion”. For exactly four years, Assange has been awaiting possible extradition to the USA, where he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
The film shows the fight of Julian’s father, John Shipton, and his wife, Teresa Assange, for his release. They travel the world looking for allies who can help the cause of a man who only did his job, while those responsible for the heinous crimes he denounced are not even questioned.
Assange’s father thanks the support of the Brazilian government
On the 27th, representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship and the federal government received John Shipton. Minister Silvio Almeida released a note expressing support for the struggle of the journalist, his family, his friends and social movements around the world for their freedom and freedom of the press.
“In times when the concept of freedom has been cynically manipulated by far-right groups – freedom completely uncompromised by solidarity – the defense of Julian Assange’s freedom and the defense of press freedom, on the contrary, assume their genuine and It is freedom associated entirely with social responsibility, in this case, to bring to light relevant information of public interest to different countries.”
:: Father of Julian Assange says that Lula’s contribution to the founder of Wikileaks cannot be underestimated ::
Furthermore, according to the note, the right to information is a fundamental right, and Assange’s actions helped promote transparency and accountability at global levels.
“Furthermore, his current situation raises concerns about due process and an individual’s rights in the face of possible political persecution. Assange and Wikileaks have brought to light information impacting governments and companies and this is the reason for his legal persecution, in true lawfare. Assange’s cause is a human rights cause.”
In a brief interview with Brasil de Fato RS, in partnership with PSOL nas Redes, he thanked the support of the Brazilian government and other Latin American countries for his son. In May of this year, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said, in London, that the continued imprisonment of the journalist is “a shame”.
What is the possibility of winning extradition from the UK to the US?
John Shipton: I think the likelihood of Julian’s extradition to the United States has decreased significantly. We now have the support of the Prime Minister of Australia, the opposition leader and 88% of the population. Australia is the only entity that can represent Julian, because he is an Australian citizen.
We also have the support of President Lula, President (Gustavo) Petro (of Colombia), President (López) Obrador (of Mexico), President (Alberto) Fernández (of Argentina). So the likelihood of Julian being extradited to the United States is steadily declining.
And if Julian is extradited, what are the expectations and threats regarding his future?
If Julian is extradited to the United States, he will be destroyed, he will be killed, he will not survive. The United States’ intention is to destroy Julian and destroy the work that Julian and WikiLeaks have done. This must be clear to everyone. Now, after 14 years of incessant persecution, harassment and psychological torture and 25 prosecutions, it is clear to anyone that the United States’ intention is to destroy Julian Assange.
We Brazilians feel that we owe a great debt to Assange. How can we do more for this campaign and how is the international campaign?
The answer is very simple: it is to continue spreading the word among others. Then, use State institutions, for example, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and Mercosur, to make representations to the United States. Alba, the Inter-American Court… From memory, I think that only three states do not support President Lula’s position: the United States, Canada and, I think, Puerto Rico.
Have you already talked to President Lula to ask for help in this campaign?
I thank President Lula for his support and I ask for nothing more. I met President Lula in Geneva, just after he was released from prison, and again in Paris, one morning, at about 8 am.
So your support, I don’t ask for more, I say thank you for what you did. And I believe that President Lula will continue this campaign, because Lula, as you mentioned, feels that Brazil owes a debt to Julian for the information that was made public by him. So, thank you to Lula and thank you to the Brazilian people for their courage and support.
We had a strong campaign for the release of the five Cuban heroes sentenced to life imprisonment in the USA. What are the similarities with the campaign for Assange’s freedom?
The persecution of the five Cubans was political, as is that of Julian. Thus, the solutions are political. The organizations that led that campaign are the same ones that support Julian Assange, particularly its leaders in Sweden. So that’s the parallel. It is a political persecution, the organizations that supported the five Cubans are the same organizations that are supporting the release of Julian Assange. And it is becoming clear that there will be success, in the case of Julian, as it was in the case of the five Cuban heroes. I just hope it takes a little less time than it took to free the Cuban heroes.
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Marcelo Ferreira