Human rights activist and lawyer Stella Assange answered AA reporter's questions ahead of her husband's extradition hearing in the UK on Monday. Referring to the problems her husband is facing in Belmarsh Prison in London, Assange said, "There are 5 days left until the verdict hearing. He is under pressure right now. He has difficulty sleeping." Pointing to the trial to be held on Monday, Assange said, "There is also the possibility that Julian will be released. So we are trying to focus on positive results. If Julian loses, the UK will extradite him. Domestic remedies in the UK have been exhausted. We will go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and try to stop the execution."

Emphasizing that the ECHR decision is binding for the UK, Assange said, "(If a stay of execution is granted) he can stay in prison or be released."

"THE ASSANGE CASE IS EMBARRASSING FOR THE US AND THE UK"

Recalling that he is working for the extradition of Julian Assange, who is also an Australian citizen, Assange said: "Australia is looking for a solution because this is a political case. Julian is not in jail, there is no prison sentence. The whole case is extremely bizarre and embarrassing for the UK and the US. They have every reason to drop the case or to find a solution that will lead to Julian's immediate release."

Assange pointed out that his wife's case is important for press freedom around the world, saying that Julian Assange was imprisoned for publishing truthful information in the public interest. "If the US and the UK put journalists in jail, there will be no one to uphold standards, the bar will be lowered," Assange said, arguing that journalists should be free to do their jobs as long as they do not lie and disinform.

Assange added that the public knowing the truth would enrich democracy.

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ASSANGE'S TRIAL PROCESS

WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange, published 251,000 classified documents on October 28, 2010, including evidence of US crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had taken refuge in June 2012, on April 11, 2019 and was arrested for "breaching the conditions of his release on bail" and placed in Belmarsh Prison in London.

The court ordered Assange, who was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison, to remain in detention after completing his sentence within the framework of the extradition request. The High Court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the US on December 10, 2021.

After the Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled for extradition on April 20, 2022, then Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the decision to extradite Assange to the US on June 17, 2022. Assange's lawyers also filed an appeal to the Supreme Court on July 1, 2022. The hearings on Julian Assange's extradition case to the US were held at the Supreme Court on February 20-21, and it was noted that the decision would be made at a later date.