On Thursday 13 August, the new documentary No Extradition: Julian Assange’s Father & The Struggle for His Son’s Freedom will premiere. It’s about the ongoing extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange. The 32-minute film, which also screens on Saturday 15 August, features exclusive interviews with Assange’s father John Shipton and activists fighting for Assange’s freedom across the UK.
Exposing war crimes
Assange is currently being held in the UK’s Belmarsh Prison awaiting extradition proceedings to the US, which are expected to continue in September.
The extradition case centres around the publishing of classified US cables a decade ago, including evidence of war crimes. If extradited, he faces up to 175 years in prison.
Award-winning journalist John Pilger recently wrote in The Canary that:
The current US charges against Assange centre on the Afghan Logs and Iraq Logs, which the Guardian published and [former Guardian investigations editor, David] Leigh worked on, and on the Collateral Murder video showing an American helicopter crew gunning down civilians and celebrating the crime. For this journalism, Assange faces 17 charges of “espionage” which carry prison sentences totalling 175 years.
The clip, which contains disturbing footage, can be seen here:
According to the UN expert on torture Nils Melzer, the persecution of Assange by the US, the UK, Sweden, and Ecuador over the past decade has amounted to “psychological torture”. Melzer told The Canary in June 2019 that:
The consistent and repeated failure of all involved states to protect Mr Assange’s fundamental right to fair judicial proceedings and due process makes the hypothesis of mere coincidence extremely unrealistic and gives a strong impression of bias and arbitrary manipulation.
No Extradition film
The producer of the documentary Pablo Navarrete spoke to The Canary about the importance of the extradition case against Assange:
Julian Assange’s treatment by the UK government and possible extradition to the US where he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for releasing information in the public interest, is one of the great injustices of our time. I think there are many people in the UK and around the world who are in denial about the fact that Julian Assange, a journalist, is [a] political prisoner of the UK government. According to Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Assange has been subjected to torture by the UK and other states.
My mother, who arrived in the UK as a political refugee in the mid-1970s and has been present at many of the Assange rallies (she features in the film), was herself a political prisoner under the US-supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. The difference between how the UK treated her and how it is now treating Assange could not be more different.
The timing of the documentary, Navarrete explained, is crucial:
The persecution of Julian Assange is emblematic of the decayed state of British democracy. The UK is a nation whose unaccountable elites are almost completely subjugated to the interests of successive US administrations. Arguably this subjugation has become even worse under [US president Donald] Trump and [British prime minister Boris] Johnson.
In my view, the fight to save Julian Assange from being extradited to the US (which begins again on 7 September) is also a fight to claw back some semblance of UK sovereignty. I’d like for people who watch the film to get a sense of the injustice being perpetrated on Assange and how his father and others are fighting tooth and nail to prevent this from happening.
In a short trailer for the documentary, Shipton explains what the situation is like as a father:
You get a bit driven… The greater the insults to Julian and members of my family, the stronger I become, and the more determined. So I no longer count the cost.
Featured image via YouTube – 60 minutes Australia