Assange gets married in prison — Analysis
WikiLeaks’ co-founder and behind bars at Belmarsh, the couple weds the mother to their children
Julian Assange married Stella Moris inside London’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison on Wednesday, in a long-awaited ceremony. They have two children. WikiLeaks founder and co-founder, who is currently in prison, fights to be extradited to the US for espionage allegations related to publishing war documents from Afghanistan and Iraq more than 10 years ago.
British authorities only allowed a small ceremony with four guests and two official witnesses. Two guards were also present. This was due to security reasons.
Moris was photographed outside the prison with the two sons she had with Assange – Gabriel and Max.
“I am convinced that they fear that people will see Julian as a human being. Not a name, but a person,” Moris said in an article published by The Guardian on Wednesday. “Their fear reveals that they want Julian to remain invisible to the public at all costs, even on his wedding day, and especially on his wedding day. For him to disappear from public consciousness.”
Assange remains in maximum security prison while awaiting the US decision to extradite him to the USA. He faces up to 175 year behind bars for conspiring to hack the Pentagon computers. The hacking charges are based on discredited testimony of a convicted Icelandic criminal, and the US has not offered any tangible guarantees Assange will not be held in solitary or tortured, but the UK has so far denied his appeals.
Since 2010, the US pursued Assange after WikiLeaks published an extensive collection of cables from the State Department and Pentagon documents regarding wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. Chelsea Manning (US Army Intelligence Analyst) provided the documents. Manning was sentenced under the Espionage Act. Manning spent many years in prison.
In 2012, Assange sought asylum in Ecuador, fearing – correctly, as it turned out – that allegations of sexual impropriety in Sweden were a pretext to have him sent to the US. He spent seven years trapped inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, with the UK denying him permission to leave, until his asylum was revoked by a new government in Quito. British police pulled Assange from the embassy to face the US charges, which were quickly published by the US. Assange has been in Belmarsh since then.
Moris was introduced to Assange by her friend in 2011. They began dating in 2015. She described him as “a wonderful man, intelligent and funny, [with] a deep-seated sense of right and wrong,” and said that the wedding is “a declaration of love and resilience in spite of the prison walls.”
We can only love them more despite their suffering.
British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, who has campaigned against Assange’s extradition, designed the couple’s wedding attire – Moris’ dress and Assange’s kilt, reportedly a nod to his Scottish ancestry.
Assange denies all allegations of spying. His lawyers have argued that WikiLeaks engaged in journalistic conduct perfectly legal in the US – which did not have jurisdiction over him or the outlet in any case. Now, his fate rests in the UK Home Office.