LONDON -- Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a London prison hospital on Tuesday, saying that his health is "deteriorating" and urging Britain and other European nations to prevent his extradition to the United States.
Berlin-based Ai said he visited the Australian national at Belmarsh prison alongside Assange's father on Tuesday, one day before a British court is scheduled to hold a case management hearing on a U.S. extradition request.
"He is in the prison hospital and his health is deteriorating," Ai wrote on Twitter and Instagram.
"He is grateful for the support given to him. The UK and Europe must defend human rights and stop his extradition to the US where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail."
The U.S. government has accused Assange, 47, 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.
Last week, a Swedish court rejected a request to detain Assange in absentia on suspicion of rape, but the allegation against him remains active.
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