Security seized what she called ‘protest material’ from her family, reports The Guardian
The father and brother of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange said they were not allowed to bring books about the imprisoned publisher to the Australian parliament, according to a report by The Guardian on Friday. Security officers apparently believe the copies are “protest material.”
John and Gabriel Shipton – Assange’s father and brother – traveled to parliament in Canberra on Thursday to ask the government to intervene in the UK-approved extradition of the Australian-born publisher to the states -United.
To make their case, they brought books written by Nils Melzer, the former UN special rapporteur on torture, which dealt with Assange’s case. The Shiptons intended to distribute copies to MPs and members of the press.
However, Gabriel said guards seized the books, which they considered “protest material.”
“I was like ‘this is ridiculous. Those are books,“” Gabriel told the Guardian, adding that he had offered to call MP and high-profile Assange supporter Andrew Wilkie. The guards, he said, allowed the call, but insisted he couldn’t take the books.
Following the incident, Assange’s relatives managed to distribute copies of the book from the stock already in place in Wilkie’s office. They also managed to recover the books confiscated by security.
“It blows my mind. This is the kind of thing we see in Trump’s America, which we criticize in China. What is our parliament afraid of that we cannot bring a book?Louise Bennet, an activist with the Bring Assange Home campaign, told the outlet.
During their visit to parliament, John and Gabriel Shipton expressed concern that the government, despite previous promises, had done little to help Assange, who is an Australian citizen. They urged Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to make the extradition issue “non-negotiablewith the United States. However, they were unable to meet with Albanese, as well as other senior officials.
Assange has effectively been in custody since 2012, when he applied for asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault charges – which have since been discontinued. Ecuador revoked Assange’s asylum status in 2019 and British police moved him from the embassy to maximum-security Belmarsh prison, where he has remained since, his health and mental state deteriorating .
A British court initially refused to hand Assange over to the United States, fearing he would be subjected to inhumane treatment. Later, Washington succeeded in convincing the British judges that the rights of the journalist would be respected. As a result, on June 17, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the order to extradite the WikiLeaks co-founder to the US – a decision that would now be appealed. .
Assange has been a target for the United States since 2010, when WikiLeaks released a trove of classified documents detailing alleged war crimes committed by US forces during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has since been charged with conspiracy to hack into Pentagon computers and is charged under the US Espionage Act of 1917 for publishing classified documents. The journalist now faces a sentence of up to 175 years in the United States.