AP

WikiLeaks founder’s family brings campaign to Mexico

Sep 14, 2022, 2:56 PM | Updated: 10:08 pm

John Shipton Sr. and Gabriel Shipton the father and brother respectively of Julian Assange particip...

John Shipton Sr. and Gabriel Shipton the father and brother respectively of Julian Assange participate in an event sponsored by the Mexican ruling party Morena, at the Unión Telefónica headquarters, entitled "Freedom for Julian Asange: a global struggle," in Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — This week the objective was to insert mention of Julian Assange into a meeting between Mexico’s president and the United States’ top diplomat. Next week, it will be to have Australia’s prime minister bring it up with the U.S. president at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

The efforts are part of the campaign by John Shipton, father of the WikiLeaks founder, to find allies and convince the U.S. to drop espionage charges against Assange, who remains in a British prison awaiting extradition to the U.S.

The journey by the septuagenarian Australian architect together with another son, Gabriel, brought them this week to Mexico. The country has become the family’s main ally in Latin America since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered Assange political asylum and called for the U.S. to allow him to seek refuge there.

“We call President López Obrador an ice-breaker,” because afterward the leaders of Chile, Colombia and Bolivia called for his release too, Gabriel Shipton said during the visit to Mexico. Among a packed scheduled of events, John Shipton received the key to the capital Wednesday on behalf of Assange, a ceremonial honor the city bestows on distinguished guests. The day before, he addressed Mexico’s Senate.

American prosecutors say Assange helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk. He faces 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse.

His defenders consider Assange a symbol of a free press and a fight for justice who exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange was arrested in London in 2010 at the request of Sweden pending a preliminary investigation into allegations of sexual assault, which he has denied. In 2012, he broke the conditions of his bail and sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy where he stayed until being asked to leave in 2019. He was immediately arrested again.

When his father visited him in jail that year, Assange asked for help.

That led Shipton to launch his globetrotting campaign with Gabriel, trying to reach average people, because politicians want those people’s votes, he said.

They went from Australia to Europe, the United States and Mexico. Each politician’s statement in favor of Assange’s release, every headline, is oxygen for Assange, who has been held in a maximum security prison.

The effort has been all consuming, Shipton said in a Mexico City hotel, as he and Gabriel listed the day’s events, which included a protest at the U.S. embassy, a meeting with a government official, press interviews and phone calls, including one with Assange.

Those calls from prison cut after 10 minutes, said Shipton, who declined to say how often they speak or what they discuss. “I can’t report on conversations between father and son. This is not public,” he said.

Shipton was estranged from Assange until his 20s, according to a documentary called “Ithaka,” produced by Gabriel Shipton, which suggests a complicated relationship.

John Shipton smiled remembering Assange’s wedding in March to his lawyer Stella Moris, a day Shipton described as “like a flower in the desert.”

Uncomfortable with media, but conscious that he needs then, Shipton questions them constantly, telling them Assange’s case directly affects their ability to continue reporting freely.

His visit to Mexico will finish with his participation in Independence Day activities Thursday night and Friday. López Obrador invited Shipton to events with relatives of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Ché Guevara, in what appeared to be an attempt to evoke emblematic figures of the 20th century.

The Shiptons plan to continue their efforts in Latin America next year, hoping that Brazil’s Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva returns to the presidency.

“You just take each moment as it comes and you do your very best you can, you don’t depend upon optimism, hope, you just do your work,” Shipton said, noting it’s a work that never ends.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

5 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

6 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

11 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

12 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

14 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

WikiLeaks founder’s family brings campaign to Mexico