British fashion designer vivienne westwood demanded the release of wikileaks founder julian assange in a giant birdcage in a london court on tuesday. "I am julian assange" was written on the kafig, in which the 79-year-old sabered in a bright yellow outfit to resemble a canary bird.
She was surrounded by protesters chanting "release julian assange". The protest was organized by their son joe corre. Australian-born assange (49) has been held for about a year in the high-security belmarsh prison in the southeast of the capital. He faces deportation to the USA.
The U.S. Justice system accuses him of helping whistleblower chelsea manning to publish secret material from U.S. Military operations in iraq and afghanistan. According to washington, the security of US informants in particular is said to have been put at risk. If convicted on all charges, assange faces up to 175 years in prison. Assange denies the charges. The wikileaks revelations had also led to the discovery of war crimes by US soldiers.
Assange had fled to the ecuadorian embassy in london in 2012 for fear of being extradited to the u.S. At the time, there was a european arrest warrant against him on rape charges in sweden. However, the investigation was later dropped.
British police arrested assange in april 2019 for violating bail conditions by fleeing to embassy. In may 2019 he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison. He is still in prison because of the U.S. Extradition request. Trial dates are also set for september.