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Ai Weiwei supports Assange with silent protest

LONDON: Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei held a silent protest on Monday (Sep 28) outside a London court to demand the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who faces extradition to the United States.

Exiled Ai, who left China for Germany in 2015 after becoming a target of Beijing's wrath, said Assange's possible prosecution in the US was "unbelievable".

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READ: Assange says he 'hears voices' in prison: Psychiatrist

"Let him to be a free man," Ai said outside the Old Bailey court in the British capital, wearing a pink T-shirt featuring him next to Assange, both holding up a middle finger.

"He truly represents the very core value of why we are fighting, the freedom of the press."

Assange faces 18 charges in the US relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Evidence in the trial stage of his long-running battle against extradition entered its fourth week Monday and is due to end within days.

But the judge hearing the case has said it will be at least six weeks before she delivers a verdict – meaning it will come after the US presidential election on Nov 3.

It is the latest in a series of legal battles faced by Assange since the leaks a decade ago.

In 2010, he faced allegations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, which he denied.

He was in Britain at the time but dodged an attempt to extradite him to Sweden by claiming political asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London.

READ: UK judge rejects Assange bid to delay US extradition case

In November 2019, Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation over the rape allegation, after failing for years to interrogate Assange in person while he was holed up in the embassy.

Assange lived in a small apartment there for seven years, but was turned over to British police in April 2019 after a change of government in Quito.

Ai, 62, said he hadRead More – Source