Assange supporters
© REUTERS / Luis Cortes
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange protest in Mexico City.
The incarceration and extradition trial of Julian Assange is one of many examples of the US abusing the legal systems of other countries to target its political enemies, said John Shipton, the father of WikiLeaks' founder.

Assange is currently held at a top security UK prison pending a hearing on extradition to the US. An American court wants him on espionage charges that may effectively result in imprisonment for life. Assange's case is one of many in which Washington puts pressure on other nations to abuse their legal systems to persecute people that the US government doesn't like, Assange's father believes.

The situation with Assange is similar to what happened to other people in Washington's crosshairs, Shipton told an audience at the University of Cologne on Saturday.

One similar case he cited is that of Huawei Chief Financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada on a request from the US. Like Assange, she is fighting an extradition request by the US, which accuses her of financial fraud in relation to violations of anti-Iranian sanctions imposed by Washington.

Another example is Ola Bini, a digital rights activist and personal friend of Assange, who got arrested in Ecuador, in a move apparently coordinated with Assange's expulsion from the nation's embassy in London. Bini spent 70 days in jail without formal charges being brought, even though Ecuadoran government officials immediately claimed he had been involved in computer intrusion. The Swedish citizen has been released but is forbidden to leave the country.

Shipton said it was obvious why his son is wanted by the US. After all, his creation, WikiLeaks, continues to expose the nefarious activities of the American government, even as Assange is kept under lock and key.

"There [was] a coup in Bolivia two weeks ago. If you wish, you can look up [the WikiLeaks site for] the name[s] of those involved in the coup, and you will see reports describing those who are corrupted; those who betray their country for money; those who have constant contact with the United States embassy," he said.