Julian Assange’s partner brands his incarceration ‘intolerable and grotesque’

Julian Assange
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The partner of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has described his ongoing incarceration in one of England’s highest security prisons as “intolerable and grotesque”.

Intolerable

Stella Moris and the couple’s two young sons, Gabriel and Max, visited Assange in prison for the first time in eight months on the morning of Saturday 19 June.

Despite winning his long-running extradition battle in January against the US, Assange remains in HMP Belmarsh in south London pending the outcome of an appeal.

Stella Moris and her two children
Moris stands with her children Gabriel and Max, as she speaks to the media outside Belmarsh Prison (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Assange is still wanted in the US on an 18-count indictment. He’s facing allegations of plotting to hack computers and conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information. The prosecution followed WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents in 2010 and 2011 relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as diplomatic cables.

Moris said the last time she had seen Assange in the flesh was his last court appearance in early January.

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Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled Assange should not be extradited to the US on mental health grounds due to his suicide risk. But she refused to release the 49-year-old while US prosecutors appeal the decision over fears he would abscond.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange, pictured in 2017 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“He’s suffering”

Moris’s visit to the prison coincides with the date Assange sought diplomatic protection from the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012. He had done this to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex offence charges which have since been dropped. Assange and Moris first met when she joined his legal team while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy to help him fight the extradition process to Sweden and later the US.

Moris told the PA news agency:

He was happy to see the kids, but he’s suffering. You know it’s a grim, horrible place.

When asked about Assange’s mental health, Moris told PA:

The situation is utterly intolerable and grotesque, and it can’t go on.

You know he’s been in there for two years and going on to two-and-a-half years. Today is actually the nine-year anniversary of him going into the Ecuadorian Embassy.

She added: “The situation is just getting more and more oppressive”.

Hope

Moris said she “hoped” that they would remain in the UK if the US prosecutors’ appeal was blocked:

At least he will be safe here. I just want to be where Julian is safe.

She said that she and Assange’s lawyers were hopeful that there is less of an appetite to prosecute him in the US following Joe Biden’s election victory. She said:

The Biden administration is showing signs of wanting to project a commitment to the first amendment.

The only logical step for (Biden) to take would be to drop this entire prosecution, and I hope that cooler heads prevail than under the Trump/Pompeo/Barr administration.

Moris said the UK’s decision to keep Assange behind bars “degrades” the country.

She said:

Having Julian locked up and facing extradition degrades the UK, and it is a threat to press freedom in the UK.

(The UK authorities) need to look at this situation afresh and bring it to an end, because it’s gone on for too long, and Julian’s life is at risk.

Moris added:

They’re driving him to deep depression and into despair.

When asked if she thought he was being kept safe in prison, she said:

It’s not the right place for Julian at all, he shouldn’t be in prison at all, he shouldn’t be prosecuted at all, because he did the right thing: he published the truth.

She continued:

It’s not safe for him at all, he should be at home with his family.

And, you know the prison guards know it, the prisoners know it, everyone tells him: ‘You shouldn’t be here.’

And the UK Government knows it. This is intolerable and it has to be brought to an end.

Stella Moris
Moris said her partner’s life is at risk (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Struggle

Morris said Assange was “struggling”, but added:

He has his family to come back to.

Announcing her decision to deny bail in January, Baraitser said:

As a matter of fairness, the US must be allowed to challenge my decision, and if Mr Assange absconds during this process they will lose the opportunity to do so.

Mr Assange still has a huge support network available to him should he again choose to go to ground.

Lawyers for Assange have said he now only wishes for a “sheltered life” with his family.

Featured image via Flickr – Cancielleria del Ecuador

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  • Show Comments
    1. I’m horrified at The Canary – no one, and I mean no one, is ever given political asylum to evade a crime! Political asylum is only ever granted on grounds of Political Persecution. There were never, ever any charges brought by the Swedish authorities against Julian Assange, a crime was never committed. Nils Melzer has published FACTS/PROOF this was a “fix”, in order to smear his name, so the public would not support him. This needs to be changed in your article otherwise you are merely perpetrating the smear!

      1. Absolutely agree. The mainstream media were willing establishment lackeys in deliberately smearing Assange with false assertions that he had been charged with offences.
        No intelligent person takes the mainstream media seriously – their over-paid so-called journalists have no guts or principles – they write any dross their bosses demand: They should leave their toxic, mendacious mainstream media employers. A good example of a journalist who did just that is Jonathan Cook who has an excellent website.

    2. What I don’t understand is why the fuck his useless legal team don’t appeal the bail decision like my barrister did when I was remanded in custody for a Palestine Action raid. What is wrong with them?

      And why the fuck didn’t the QC who led their team walk out when Baraitser refused to intervene to ensure that he had unrestricted access to his client?

      They are totally fucking useless. They should have walked out on this shit magistrate and appealed to the higher courts about her obvious bias.

    3. As previously pointed out the report should be corrected; there never were Swedish “sex offence charges”. This is not the first time that the Canary has failed to properly check its facts on Assange, and it is part of the problem that if even the Canary, which supports Assange’s case, has been mislead by this deliberate misinformation the ordinary public has no chance. I recommend a thorough reading of Craig Murray’s web site on Assange

    4. Come on Canary, behave yourselves! There were no sex charges ever brought against Julian Assange from Sweden.
      He is a Political Prisoner against telling the truth.
      Why is he in Belmarsh Prison? Only so the UK government can be extra nasty to him.
      It would be a lot cheaper to have a Security Officer looking after him 24/7.
      He has children where is his chance to have a family life eh?

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