Julian Assange’s biological father John Shipton said that the treatment of the WikiLeaks founder in London's Belmarsh Prison could be described as “sordid and hysterical”, as he is being kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, according to Shipton's interview with the Press Association, as cited by INews.
Shipton insisted that it was “extraordinary” to see his son being held under such inhumane prison conditions, with his health rapidly deteriorating.
“I last visited Julian in August - he was a bit shaky, and is suffering from anxiety. He has lost a lot of weight. It is very distressing, and the intensity of his treatment has increased over the past year”, Shipton told the press.
"He is being subjected to every sort of torment", he added.
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson previously told the media that UK authorities were holding Assange in conditions worse than for accused terrorists and were preventing him from preparing his case against US extradition.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has also condemned Assange’s treatment within the jail, following his visit to the WikiLeaks founder in May.
“Mr Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture,” said Melzer.
On Saturday, Assange’s father Shipton accepted the Gavin MacFadyen Award outside Belmarsh prison on behalf of his son, with the awarding body describing the WikiLeaks founder as a "courageous truth teller".
Julian Assange was sentenced for violating bail conditions and was supposed to be released on 22 September, but remains in prison due to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s “substantial” belief that he could “abscond again” upon release.
The WikiLeaks founder, who published a large number of classified documents in 2010, now faces a US extradition hearing in February 2020, where he could be sentenced to up to 175 years based on 18 charges, including disclosure of national secrets.