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The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, named Julian Assange a Distinguished Guest and delivered the keys to the City to the family of the founder of WikiLeaks. The family was in Mexico at the invitation of the Presidency to the celebrations marking Mexico’s independence. John Shipton and Gabriel Shipton, father and brother of Julian Assange, attended the ceremony on Wednesday 14 September. Efforts are being stepped up to persuade authorities in the UK, US and Australia to release Assange who remains incarcerated in London’s high security Belmarsh prison.

Mayor Sheinbaum, said: “Julian Assange represents the truth, he represents freedom of expression and never, anywhere in the world, can that be persecuted. Today, in this national month, we endorse Independence and because we always endorse freedom of expression, Julian Assange will be welcomed, through his family, to Mexico City. We hand over the keys to the City to the family of Julian Assange. We are a progressive City that has always defended the great freedoms and the right to free access to information.”

Former Minister of National Defence of Ecuador Ricardo Patino was able to deliver to Julian Assange’s father and brother, the national journalism award given to the founder of WikiLeaks by the Journalists Club of Mexico in 2018.

Gabriel Shipton said that the action by Mexico City had not only reinvigorated the campaign but had lifted Julian’s spirits. He said: “The significance of this is that Mexico understands the importance of Julian’s work. Mexico has been a leading advocate for Julian’s freedom and the President is leading the charge among world leaders to free Julian. Mexico is vital in that sense because it is a close neighbour of the US, so its support for our campaign is priceless.”

John and Gabriel Shipton were invited to Mexico along with the families of Cesar Chavez (an American labour leader and civil rights activist) Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jnr. as part of the country’s Independence Day celebrations.

The WikiLeaks founder is fighting a long-running legal battle against extradition to the US where he faces trial over charges concerning the publication of thousands of secret cables, including on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile more than 3,000 people have pledged to surround parliament in London on Saturday 8 October by forming a human chain. Other events around the world are being planned for that day see: