21:33 GMT17 May 2021
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    WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange faces 175 years in prison on charges relating to his role in publishing classified documents which revealed war crimes and other criminality perpetrated by US-led forces in Iraq, Afghanistand and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Rebecca Vincent of Reporters Without Borders and Stella Moris, Julian Assange's partner, attempted unsuccessfully to hand a petition to Number 10 on the morning of 7 September 2020, the date the WikiLeaks publisher's extradition hearings restarted. The document, which calls for an end to the prosecution and extradition proceedings against Mr Assange, has been signed by over 80,000 people thus far, according to Ms Vincent.

    Mohamed Elmaazi
    Rebecca Vincent and Stella Moris at Number 10 Downing Street with petition regarding Julian Assange on 7 September 2020

    "We were told that the orders come from Number 10 directly that no petitions will currently be received. Which means that in our democracy the British public currently cannot officially handover any petition to our government", Ms Vincent told Sputnik.

    ​Ms Moris also told reporters that Mr Assange, whom she spoke to on Sunday "was not well" and that he will have already been awake for five hours by the time he is brought to the Old Bailey each day.

    ​Ms Moris, launched a fundraiser to help with mounting legal costs which have surpassed £500,000, according to her Crowdfunder.

    Mr Assange, remains incarcerated in the Belmarsh maximum-security prison on pre-trial detention, despite completing his sentence for absconding while on bail when he sought and obtained asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy. He faces up to 175 years in prison if he is convicted on all 18 charges levied against him. His extradition hearings will run for at least three weeks and possibly a fourth during which time most journalists, if accredited and approved by the Ministry of Justice, will have to follow the proceedings remotely via video link.


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