Supporters of Julian Assange
© Henry Nicholls / Reuters
Supporters of Julian Assange in London, Britain, October 21, 2019.
The father of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange said his son is on course for a bitter end in prison for shedding light on American war crimes, as he faces looming extradition to the US.

John Shipton said on Friday that he visited Assange in prison in the UK this week and was horrified by how poorly his son is being treated behind bars.

"Julian may die in jail over a nine-year persecution for revealing the truth of war crimes. It is beyond obscene."

"This is not the bitter disappointment of a father, this is simply fact,"
he said, as cited by the Daily Mail.

Assange recently served a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh prison in London for skipping bail in 2012 but remains locked up pending extradition to the US, where he is charged with exposing government secrets, including alleged war crimes by US troops in Iraq. If proven guilty, Assange could face up to 175 years in jail.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who also visited Assange in prison, has repeatedly warned that his due process rights were violated and that he was subjected to "prolonged psychological torture" during prosecution. Assange's supporters claim that his health has severely deteriorated as he spent nearly seven years confined inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London out of fear of being extradited to the US - until the South American country revoked his asylum status in April.

Assange's mother, Christine, blasted his conditions in custody, saying that her son is being "slowly, cruelly and unlawfully assassinated" by the British and the US government.

The US officials, meanwhile, rejected Melzer's findings and insisted that Assange will be guaranteed a fair trial if he is extradited. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid approved the extradition of Assange in June but said the final decision is up to the court. The hearing on the matter is scheduled for February.