British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood called for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a giant bird cage before a London court on Tuesday. "I'm Julian Assange" was written on the cage in which the 79-year-old was wearing a bright yellow outfit to look like a canary.
She was surrounded by demonstrators chanting "Let Julian Assange go free". The protest had been organized by her son Joe Corre. Australian-born Assange (49) has been in the Belmarsh Prison maximum security prison in the southeast of the capital for about a year. He faces expulsion to the United States.
The US judiciary accuses him of helping whistleblower Chelsea Manning publish secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Washington, the security of US informants in particular was put at risk. If convicted on all charges, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison. Assange denies the allegations. The Wikileaks revelations had also led to the detection of war crimes by US soldiers.
Assange had fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, fearing extradition to the United States. At that time, he had a European arrest warrant for rape allegations in Sweden. However, the investigation was later stopped.
The British police arrested Assange in April 2019 for violating bail conditions by fleeing to the embassy. In May 2019, he was sentenced to 50 weeks' imprisonment. He is still in prison for the US extradition request. Trial dates are also scheduled for September.