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Supporters of the Committee to Defend Julian Assange Campaign stand outside HM Belmarsh Prison ahead of a presser with UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Assange's Father and Legal Team Talk to Press Ahead of Extradition Hearing - Video

The WikiLeaks founder has been indicted by a US court on 18 felony charges, mostly regarding violations of the Espionage Act after he leaked classified data that exposed US misdemeanours during the Iraq and Afghan wars. Assange faces five to 10 years in prison for each charge if convicted.

Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder as well as his father are expected to hold a press conference in Paris.

The legal team will address the press just four days ahead of a scheduled extradition hearing at the Woolwich Crown Court in London.

Earlier, John McDonnell, the UK Shadow Chancellor, paid a visit to Julian Assange at Belmarsh prison becoming the very first parliamentarian to visit the whistleblower in jail.

Assange spent seven years at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after skipping bail and asking for political asylum in 2012 to evade possible extradition to the United States.

The whistleblower was forced out of the embassy last year and is being held at a high-security prison in London pending an extradition trial.


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15:45 GMT 20.02.2020
14:32 GMT 20.02.2020

"Of course, we are working on the possibility to ask the French authorities to provide political asylum [to Assange]. Our constitution allows this", Dupond-Moretti said at a press conference.

12:41 GMT 20.02.2020

John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition assessed the visit by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell saying that the MP was both personally glad to see him and took it as a sign that support is broadening for the campaign to prevent Assange from being extradited.

"I think anybody who has been in Belmarsh prison for the length of time he has been there would be finding life tough and undoubtedly he is. But he is a very focused, very strong individual. And we had a very informative and wide-ranging discussion with him", Rees said.

Rees also addressed the upcoming demonstration rally this Saturday, saying there is a great deal of international support for the demonstration on Monday.

"I think there is international, global interest in this case – I think it is a global cause. On Monday, there will be a demonstration here at Belmarsh but there are also going to be demonstrations in cities across the world from Australia to the West Coast of America. So I think you can see from that this is a dynamic, determined movement which has seen that there is a gross injustice being perpetrated and they are determined to put an end to it", he concluded.

12:31 GMT 20.02.2020
Belmarsh prison - Sputnik International
12:14 GMT 20.02.2020
John McDonnell, the UK Shadow Chancellor and Stop The War Coalition national officer John Rees - Sputnik International
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