Julian Assange’s father is asking New Zealand to give asylum to his son.

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Wikileaks’ father, Julian Assange, wants his son to be sent to New Zealand to live while his legal challenge continues.

Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, stood in front of his son’s billboard as he arrived at the Old Bailey court in London last September at the extradition hearing of Assange. Picture: AFP

Yesterday, a British judge refused a motion to extradite Assange to the United States, where the 49-year-old faces accusations of treason over a major leak of classified information.

The judge rejected the US extradition motion on the basis that Assange’s mental health issues meant that he was at risk of suicide, but the US lawyers are likely to appeal the decision.

The US authorities have accused the 49-year-old of 18 offences linked to the publication by WikiLeaks of significant quantities of classified US military documents and diplomatic cables that, they claim, put lives in peril.

Assange’s father, John Shipton, co-signed a letter urging his son, who is an Australian, to be sent to New Zealand before the legal problems have been settled.

One of Julian Assange’s lawyers, Tauranga-based Craig Tuck, said that would be an ideal option.

“There’d be safety, there’d be a whole set of conditions that would be available to him to progress matters, as opposed to being locked in a high security jail.”

Tuck said New Zealand had a fantastic human rights record and would provide the security his client needs.

He said the legal challenges of Assange could take years to complete, and he was not able to return to Australia until that happened.

Assange has spent most of the last decade either in jail for self-imposed imprisonment.

Tuck said moving to New Zealand would be an ideal way to help his client’s well-being.

“There’s all sorts of health concerns and we’re involved in various meetings and communication around this particular topic and will be this week,” he said.

– Nenyko / Reuters


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