Chinese artist Ai Weiwei visits Julian Assange in prison

Mail Online | 6/11/2019 | Mark Duell for MailOnline
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Julian Assange was today visited by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and his father in prison as the US sent Britain a formal request to extradite him in a bid to put him on trial for leaking military secrets.

The WikiLeaks founder was moved to a medical ward at high-security HMP Belmarsh in South East London last month and his supporters expressed 'grave concerns' about his health.

Assange - Prison - Sentence - Embassy - April

Assange is serving a 50-week prison sentence after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in April and jailed for a bail violation.

Justice Department officials sent the official request on Thursday, meeting a 60-day deadline after the WikiLeaks founder was arrested on April 11, government sources told the Washington Post.

Assange - US - Army - Intelligence - Analyst

Assange is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 'unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence'.

The Justice Department said that by publishing unredacted versions of the leaked files, Assange put 'named human sources at a grave and imminent risk'.

Assange - Extradition - Lawyers - Charges

However, Assange is expected to fight the extradition and his lawyers may argue the charges are politically motivated.

MailOnline has approached the UK Home Office for comment.

Weiwei - Charge - China - Days - Crackdown

Weiwei, who was detained without charge in China for 81 days in 2011 during a crackdown on political activists, is believed to have previously visited Assange in 2015 when he was holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The 47-year-old's father John Shipton arrived at the prison today with Ai Weiwei this afternoon.

Son - Mr - Shipton - 'It - Circumstances

After visiting his son, Mr Shipton said: 'It was just very moving to see Julian, particularly in those circumstances, coming out of sick bay and having lost 10kg weight.'

He said: 'I think he'll be alright.'

Mr - Shipton - Hug - Son - 'It

Mr Shipton said he shared a hug with his son, adding: 'It was a bit moving, not a hug that you want to end.'

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