Assange ‘may die in jail,’ father warns

John Shipton said he had visited his son in a British prison two days ago and needed to ‘face the bitter truth’ that he ‘may die in jail.’ (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Assange ‘may die in jail,’ father warns

  • John Shipton: This is not the bitter disappointment of a father, this is simply fact. Julian may die in jail over a nine-year persecution for revealing the truth of war crimes
  • The 48-year-old whistleblower is currently being held at a top-security British prison since April after police sensationally dragged him out of the Ecuadoran embassy in London

GENEVA: THE father of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Friday he worried his son would die in prison after nine years of “persecution” for daring to reveal US “war crimes.”
John Shipton told reporters in Geneva that he had visited his son in a British prison two days ago and needed to “face the bitter truth” that he “may die in jail.”
“This is not the bitter disappointment of a father, this is simply fact,” he said.
Assange used WikiLeaks to publish classified military and diplomatic files in 2010 about US bombing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq that proved highly embarrassing to the US government.
Since then, he has been entangled in a web of judicial proceeding, and is currently fighting a US bid to extradite him from Britain on charges filed under the Espionage Act that could land him a sentence of up to 175 years in a US prison.
The 48-year-old whistleblower is currently being held at a top-security British prison since April after police sensationally dragged him out of the Ecuadoran embassy in London.
He had been holed up in the embassy since 2012 to avoid a extradition order to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over accusations of sexual assault, which he has denied.
“Julian may die in jail over a nine-year persecution for revealing the truth of war crimes,” Shipton said.
“It is beyond obscene.”
His comments followed a warning from an independent UN rights expert last week that the treatment of Assange was putting his life “at risk.”
“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr.Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,” the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Nils Melzer, said in a statement.


Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

Updated 18 November 2019

Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

  • The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters
  • Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate

SRINAGAR: An avalanche on Monday hit an Indian patrol in the world’s highest militarised zone in the Himalayas, killing four soldiers and two porters, an army spokesman said.
The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) that is claimed by India and rival Pakistan.
Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate in the region over the past three decades.
An Indian military spokesman told AFP that the avalanche engulfed eight people in the patrol at the northern end of the glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.
Rescue teams managed to dig the patrol members out of the snow, and they were taken by helicopter to hospital.
“Despite best efforts, six casualties which includes four soldiers and two civilian porters succumbed to extreme hypothermia,” said the spokesman, Col. Rajesh Kalia.
Avalanches are common on the 700-square-kilometer (270-square-mile) glacier, where temperatures regularly fall to minus 60 degrees Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit).
In 2016, 10 Indian soldiers were buried and killed.
About 900 Indian soldiers alone have died on the glacier since 1984, when Indian forces took complete control of Siachen.
The glacier is located at the northern end of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir, which India and Pakistan have fought over since 1947.