Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a London prison hospital on Tuesday, local media reported.
Ai noted that Assange’s health is “deteriorating” and urged Britain and other European nations to prevent his extradition to the U.S.
Berlin-based Ai said he visited the Belmarsh prison alongside Assange’s father, one day before a British court is scheduled to hold a case management hearing on a U.S. extradition request.
“He is grateful for the support given to him.
“The UK and Europe must defend human rights and stop his extradition to the U.S. where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail,’’ Ai wrote on Twitter and Instagram.
The U.S. government has accused Assange of conspiring with former U.S. military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.
He has been held at the prison since police dragged him from the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11.
He had spent seven years inside the embassy to avoid arrest.
The British extradition process, which Assange opposes, is expected to take up to one year to resolve.
Recently, a Swedish court rejected a request to detain Assange in absentia on suspicion of rape; however the allegation against him remains active.