Ai Weiwei stages silent protest against Assange extradition
© Adam Berry/Getty Images

Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei staged a silent protest against the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeAi Weiwei stages silent protest against Assange extradition Psychiatrist says Assange told him he was hearing imaginary voices, music Assange extradition hearing delayed over coronavirus concerns MORE to the United States, where he’s wanted on a slew of espionage charges.

The protest took place outside of Old Bailey court in London on Monday, The Associated Press reported. 

“He is prepared to fight, but this is not fair to him,” Ai said, according to the AP. “Free him, let him be a free man.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The court heard that Assange, if convicted in the U.S., could end up spending the rest of his life imprisoned in the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colo.

Assange’s attorneys have asked for him to be granted bail due to his risk of contracting COVID-19 with his pre-existing conditions of respiratory infections and heart problems. A judge reportedly denied bail, saying Assange is a flight risk.

The WikiLeaks founder fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden on sex crime allegations, which have since been dropped. He stayed there for seven years before being removed in 2019.

“He truly represents a core value of why we are free — because we have freedom of the press,” Ai told the AP. “We need a lot of protesting, and it can take any form. I’m an artist, if I cannot use my art, it’s very limited, then I’d rather just be silent.”

Assange’s father, John Shipton, was also protesting outside the court. He told the AP that Ai “is an artist of gigantic international standing, he stands alongside Julian to give the fight international meaning.”