Assange Put on Suicide Watch After Patel Decision, Father Says

John Shipton said Julian Assange was stripped naked and put in an empty cell to prevent him from killing himself over the home secretary’s decision to sign his extradition order, Joe Lauria reports.

John and Gabriel Shipton at Berlin rally. (Joe Lauria)

By Joe Lauria
in Berlin 
Special to Consortium News

After British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Julian Assange’s extradition order on Friday the authorities in Belmarsh prison stripped Julian Assange and threw him into a completely empty cell in an attempt to prevent his suicide, Assange’s father has said. 

It was just one more instance in which the prison humiliated his son, Shipton told  a rally on Tuesday night at the offices of the junge Welt newspaper in Berlin. About 300 people attended, with an overflow crowd watching on close circuit TV in the courtyard. 

“The ceaseless malice that has descended upon Julian,  a deluge of malice, the strip-searching of Julian … this is the latest humiliation,” Shipton said. “The staff of the jail, their concern after hearing he has to be extradited to the United States, thought he may commit suicide. Their solution was to strip him naked, and put him in a bare cell.”

Testimony was heard from expert defense witnesses during Assange’s extradition hearing that he might try to end his life in prison once he learned he was going to the United States. 

It is not the end of the road for Assange legally, however. His lawyers have until July 1 to file for an appeal of Patel’s decision to the High Court.  They also intend to apply for a cross appeal of issues such as the political nature of the charges, the threat to free speech and the reported C.I.A. plot to kidnap or kill Assange before his arrest.

Shipton and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, are in Berlin to lobby the German government to put pressure on the United States to drop the case against Assange.

On Monday, the Shiptons met with Tobias Lindner, the minister of state, at the German foreign ministry. “It was a practical and appropriate step for Tobias to take, to welcome Julian Assange’s father and bother into the foreign ministry,” John Shipton said. “The invitation in itself and the meeting in the foreign ministry indicates that the German government is sincere in bringing about the freedom of Julian Assange.”

But Shipton said he would like to hear a public statement from Germany in support of his son. “We’d like Tobias to confirm what he’s said.” 

A German government spokesman on Monday said however that Germany was unlikely to intervene with either the U.K. or the U.S. “This is a legal process that is already in motion, so I would be a little wary of political intervention,” he said, the French Press Agency (AFP) reported.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  


30 comments for “Assange Put on Suicide Watch After Patel Decision, Father Says

  1. June 24, 2022 at 02:13

    If Julian Assange is brought here to America for trial, I dearly hope the Just-us Department botches the prosecution so badly as to cause the jury to return a correct verdict of, NOT GUILTY!

  2. Robert Emmett
    June 23, 2022 at 14:07

    Oh, so political intervention is perfectly fine when used to concoct and carry-out an unjust proceeding for years but not to be used in any bold move now to challenge that unjust decision? OK, got it.

    Why expect more than weasel words from weasels?

  3. renate
    June 23, 2022 at 11:20

    The shyster government in Berlin knows it has nothing to do with the law, it is power politics, war criminals write the book. Mr. Assange published the facts about war crimes, not a nice picture of the American monster. The NATO members are getting the Iraq treatment from Biden, which bears the question of ” what do they have to lose?”
    When will NATO shysters show courage and tell the Biden people to get lost? NATO and the EU are the big-time losers, they have nothing left to lose as is, and they can only gain at least a little respect and recognition for a bit of decency.

  4. C. Parker
    June 23, 2022 at 11:06

    The thing which troubles me most is the lack of outrage by American, British and Australian citizens. Imagine if the the people marched in front of the Capitol shouting “free Assange!” How can anyone expect justice for themselves in any of those countries.

  5. Vera Gottlieb
    June 23, 2022 at 10:43

    The Asses of Evil…US and UK.

  6. Vesa S
    June 23, 2022 at 03:29

    The West is spiritually dead. All the so called values and talks about democracy and human rights has been proved to be a deception. I as a westerner despise our governments and culture, i also hate the way most of western people turn their eyes and ears away from reality and continue their empty life wearing yellow-blue scarf as nothing has happened.

  7. WillD
    June 23, 2022 at 02:56

    It is doubly brutal and cruel to strip Julian and throw him in an empty cell to prevent him taking his own life. Putting him into the cell is the first part, and preventing him taking his own life – and thus prolonging his suffering is the second part.

    This barbaric treatment in itself cannot possibly be ‘legal’, although the UK seems to have abandoned the notion of justice.

    It’s time that the scales of justice on top of the Old Bailey were torn down.

  8. jean b. mckay
    June 23, 2022 at 00:32

    Several thoughts: #1 – The U.K. has been and continues to do the bidding of the U.S. for what reason or purpose?
    #2 – So, Julian is tortured because tr*mp felt like spewing his rotten hatred at him and is now the target of many crimes himself? What?
    #3 – So all these “officials” are torturing Julian in order to give support to the criminals he exposed murdering innocents and laughing about it as government employees?
    #4 – Why doesn’t Reuters speak up since two of their journalists were mowed down by u.s. personnel?
    Why why why?
    #5 – Who is the h*ll is Patel to dishonor herself and her government in this way?
    I join with the livid infuriated angry supporters of Julian and Stella and their boys and Julian’s Parents and siblings and all of us ordinary world citizens who care about this huge protracted miscarriage of justice?
    Glad for CN’s forum.

    • doris
      June 24, 2022 at 11:57

      Great questions, especially #4! Why hasn’t Reuters spoken up about US soldiers outright murdering two of their own? Have they ever said anything about it? Or do their other journalists work under the assumption they won’t be supported if they’re murdered also?

  9. Graeme
    June 22, 2022 at 22:20

    The cruelty of the British government and legal system is far from surprising – no wonder they state that the US would ensure Julian’s well-being.

    As for the credibility of the UK ‘legal system’?
    Consider that
    recently Jennifer Robinson announced a settlement with the British government over its surveillance of her while she has acted as a legal representative of persecuted WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.
    the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), where a case by Robinson against the British government was pending, took note of the agreement. As part of the settlement, the ECHR said the British government had admitted to violating Robinson’s article eight and article ten rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, relating to privacy and freedom of expression respectively.

    June 22, 2022 at 19:09

    BRITTISH JUSTICE, What a joke.

  11. ray Peterson
    June 22, 2022 at 18:44

    Joe, an explainer, no matter how depressing: What chance has Julian
    in legal appeals, cross or whatever, if it’s before those same jurors, those red-robed
    bottom of the barrel lees, that denied him a fair hearing most recently?
    As Alice said to Humpty Dumpty, “the question is whether you can make
    words [laws] mean” [whatever you want]; Humpty Dumpty’s answer is what
    the Baraitser and UK court system have answered all along: “The question
    is, said Humpty Dumpty, ‘Which is to be master—that’s all.’ ”
    (Looking-Glass 6.63-65).

  12. maxine
    June 22, 2022 at 16:22

    I still can’t understand why the powers that be want to prevent him from committing suicide….It makes no sense….They want to get rid of him anyway, even tried to assassinate him….They know he’ll die in an American prison….What’s going on here?

  13. Realist
    June 22, 2022 at 15:33

    Just those freedom-loving specimens of Western democracy demonstrating that there is always a place at the banquet table of diverse philosophies, where even hard core sadism and abject hypocrisy find a home. Such tolerance proves how exceptional we truly are among the peoples of the world.

  14. susan
    June 22, 2022 at 15:26

    Such hubris on the part of Joe Biden who’s son Hunter’s illegal activities have been covered up over and over again and who is still walking free – while John Shipton’s son, Julian has been jailed for years for telling the truth about US illegal activities and murders around the world. The US government is a fucking farce.

  15. Jack Stephen Hepburn Flanigan
    June 22, 2022 at 15:10

    This whole scenario is truly sinister, it is perverse and it stinks. Australia, the US and the UK clearly are in lockstep as to Julian’s fate. It seems that people occupying the highest levels in the Executive branches of government, the legislature, the Judiciary and the fourth estate in these countries have conspired to ensure this man will suffer the most outrageous punishment which is intended to end in his insanity and ultimately murder or suicide. And for what? Well for exposing the truth of the underlying rot. All governments are corrupt it seems and we are fed lies from the day we are born. The high ideals espoused following WW2 in so called western democracies were pure propaganda. I do not feel any loyalty toward the country of my birth Australia or its allies for the reasons stated above and for many other reasons not relevant to this subject.

  16. Vincent ANDERSON
    June 22, 2022 at 14:33

    That gives a whole new meaning to ‘suicide watch’ IMHO. I don’t know who opines that there is an ‘exhaustion of [UK] remedies’ precondition for the step of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights. In light of the dastardly news below, it seems that the ECHR has jurisdiction instanter, as they say.
    Subtitled, ‘The new bill will allow the UK to ignore certain European Court of Human Rights decisions after it blocked deportation flights to Rwanda,’ it continues,
    “[Deputy PM Dominic] Raab said on Wednesday that the bill would assert that the Supreme Court in London is the ultimate arbiter on human rights issues. The law would also mean that interim measures from the court issued under “rule 39” are not binding on UK courts.
    “The UK Supreme Court should be supreme in their legal interpretations,” [he] told Sky News broadcaster.
    Raab is resisting calls from the right of his party to quit the ECHR altogether, saying the new bill would instead “strengthen our UK tradition of freedom whilst injecting a healthy dose of common sense into the system”.’

    Enough of common sense. (That, quite aside from the apparent voidness of the underlying Brexis doings, as discussed by Max Blumenthal and Kit Klarenberg here, and in The Grayzone.) A dirty dose of covering the dirty tracks of Boris and Priti, he means. Yet, whether or not the issue is cast as ‘withdrawing’ from the ECHR, Raab is simply wrong about UK ‘sovereign’ supremacy. The ECHR is supreme. While “Raab said on Wednesday that the bill would assert that the Supreme Court in London is the ultimate arbiter on human rights issues. The law would also mean that interim measures from the court issued under ‘rule 39’ are not binding on UK courts,” the rule’s text says otherwise. I append here a WORD version of the pdf, and invite all lawyers concerned to render a speedy opinion. Time is of the essence.

    What are interim measures?

    The Court may, under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court, indicate interim measures to any State party to the Convention. Interim measures are urgent measures which, in accordance with the established practice of the Court, apply only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable damage (see Mamatkulov and Askarov v. Turkey [GC], nos. 46827/99 and 46951/99, § 104, 4 February 2005 and Paladi v. Moldova [GC],
    no. 39806/05, §§ 86-90, 10 March 2009)
    Interim measures are applied only in limited situations: the most typical cases are ones in which there are fears of
    • a threat to life (situation falling under Article 2 of the Convention) or
    • ill-treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment).
    In highly exceptional cases they can also be applied in respect of certain requests relating to the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 of the Convention).

    The vast majority of interim measures indicated concern deportation and extradition cases. In these cases, the Court can request the State concerned to suspend a deportation order against the applicant.
    In accordance with the Court’s practice, requests that clearly fall outside the scope of Rule 39 are not submitted to the President of the Chamber for a decision and are immediately rejected.

    Manner and time-period in which requests are dealt with:

    Every request is examined individually. The procedure is a written one.
    Every request for interim measures is dealt with as a matter of priority, unless the request is manifestly intended as a delaying tactic.
    Applicants are informed of the decisions of the Court regarding requests for interim measures by letter (sent by fax and by post).

    Absence of appeal:

    No appeal lies against decisions refusing application of Rule 39.

    Duration and lifting of orders under Rule 39:
    Interim measures may be indicated for the duration of the proceedings before the Court or for a more limited period of time.
    An order under Rule 39 may be lifted at any time by a decision of the Court.
    In particular, as an order under Rule 39 is linked to the proceedings before the Court the measure may be lifted if the application is not maintained.

    Deportation of a person to a member State:
    Where a person whose request for an interim measure has been refused is deported to another member State, he or she can, if necessary, introduce a fresh request against that State under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court or an application under Article 34 of the Convention.

  17. Mary Jean Naylor
    June 22, 2022 at 14:26

    Clearly UK prisons, like US
    prisons, are used for poitical
    gain. They do not seek justice.
    If they did, Assange would not be
    in prison. It cannot be ignored,
    the facts proclaim it, Assange is
    innocent. If his rights are not
    recognized, no one’s rights are
    respected, except those of the
    politically powerful. You are safe
    as long as you don’t get in their way.

  18. pedro
    June 22, 2022 at 14:01

    It is certainly the end of the road for los Estados Unidos and their harem of poodle dog nations. Here is a tip for the future those entities probably don’t have:
    If you don’t want to be documented committing war crimes, don’t commit them.

  19. Dennis Nilsson
    June 22, 2022 at 12:48

    The governments of Great Britain and the United States can still back down, and withdraw the false accusations, to save their reputation as strongholds of democracy and freedom.

    Now the men and women of power will show their true face. Are they Democrats or despots?

    • ray Peterson
      June 23, 2022 at 13:28

      Denn, They’re despots and proud of it

  20. Alex Cox
    June 22, 2022 at 12:38

    Thank you for continuing to cover this story. All English language media are contemptible for their reporting of the persecution of Julian Assange – in particular the Guardian. So we look to Consortium News and Craig Murray to enlighten us.

  21. doris
    June 22, 2022 at 11:08

    “This is a legal process that is already in motion, so I would be a little wary of political intervention,” he said, the French Press Agency (AFP) reported.”

    So, legal is important when it’s a truth teller, but for those he told the truth about, the law means nothing. Mass murder is fine, but don’t intervene when justice is being shat on. Speaking of “legal” though, I can’t get my mind around how ANY of Assange’s persecution is legal! They’re committing crimes by charging him.

    • Joe Wallace
      June 22, 2022 at 20:22


      When you’ve embarrasssed the U.S., by exposing its war crimes, legal magic must be deployed to set things right. After Julian’s slow strangulation by legal process, we await the finale. A judge decked out in a wig and robe (it adds to the performance) will wave a magic wand, root around in the court record, grab “justice” by the ears and pull it out of the shat. When the verdict is read, members of the establishment will whisper, with a sigh of relief, “You dung good!” The rest of the crowd will react with shock and horror. “Ordure!” the judge will shout. “Ordure in the court!” “So we’ve noticed!” someone will answer. Nothing will quell the anger and outrage.

  22. Elyse Gilbert
    June 22, 2022 at 10:48

    Although thoroughly disgusted and horrifically saddened, I thank you for consistently covering the Assange case. I just hope he holds out and either of the appeals are won. I fear the UK with it’s push towards tyranny will devolve their agreement with the ECHR and that legal avenue may close. It appears that this court has judges who are not yet bought and as the case in Rwandan refugees usually sides on the side of justice!?
    Do you have any details about this issue as jennifer Robinson mentioned about the UK ending their compliances with that court during their press conference right after Priti Patel signed that dreaded extradition order…

  23. Lois Gagnon
    June 22, 2022 at 10:40

    This latest assault on Julian’s rights has nothing to do with concerns for his life. It’s just one more demonstration of the depravity of empire whose criminality has been exposed. There is no depth to which those who prop this illegitimate system up won’t sink to excuse the sorry state of their actions.

  24. Jack Stephen Hepburn Flanigan
    June 22, 2022 at 09:32

    I do not expect our government to do anything for Julian. I think Australians should, independent of government, have sporting boycotts. Boycott cricket test matches with the UK. Boycott local professional sport, boycott all sport with the US. Refuse to participate in international sport.We should be prepared to make personal sacrifices. until he is released. But we won’t and wouldn’t do anything because we do not give a shit.
    God help him poor bastard.

  25. Tim N
    June 22, 2022 at 07:06

    “It is not the end of the road legally for Assange, however.” I’m afraid that it is. Julian certainly understands that.

    • JonT
      June 22, 2022 at 16:21

      Yes, I think that you are right. But let’s not give up hope until ALL legal avenues are exhausted.

    • Jack
      June 23, 2022 at 08:53

      You are correct. It could be the end. Legal analysts in Great Britain have said Priti Patel could be on solid ground calling in U.S. Marshalls to Arrest Julian in Belmarsh immediately after the 1st Appeal is lost. Literally the same day the announcement is made, although they will probably wait a bit longer………..

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