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Julian Assange faces 'uncertain future,' his wife tells DW

October 14, 2022

Stella Assange said her husband's fight for freedom was not a legal battle anymore, but lies in the hands of politicians. Assange has also been nominated for the European Union's top human rights prize.

Wife of Julian Assange, Stella Morris leaves the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London, England on April 20, 2022.
Stella Assange, seen in the picture, has said her husband was not a criminal for doing his jobImage: Rasid Necati Aslim/AA/picture alliance

Detained Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is facing an "uncertain future," his wife Stella Assange, who's also a human rights lawyer, told DW on Friday.

Assange is facing a series of criminal charges in the US over leaking classified documents related to theUS's conduct in the Afghan and Iraq wars.

Assange has denied all charges against him. 

On Thursday, he was nominated for the European Union's top human rights award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The winner will be announced on October 19.

"The nomination for the Sakharov Prize is incredibly important. It helps build my ability and our ability to keep this case on the agenda," Stella Assange told DW.

What is the state of Assange's health?

His detention in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and then at a high-security prison in UK since 2019 has rasiedconcerns about the impact of imprisonment on his health.

Stella Assange, who married Julian Assange in a prison ceremony in March this year, said her husband was sick with COVID last Saturday.

She said she saw him about ten days ago or so, but is worried about his health since he had been placed in "24-hour lockdown, locked his cell continuously."

He would only sometimes step out to the yard for an for hour for fresh air, she added.

Assange's fate in the 'hands of politicians'

Julian Assange is Australian but wanted in the US on 18 criminal charges after his organization leaked classified military documents in 2010 and 2011. 

Assange could face up to 175 years in prison, his lawyers have said.

Assange's legal team in August appealed against a UK decision to have extradited him to the US. A London court formally ordered Asange's extradition this April.

On being asked whether Stella Assange was hopeful with the change in Australia's leadership, Stella said she could not comment too much because "Julian's life is in the hands of politicians."

Assange's case not legal, but political

Stella Assange said the fight for her husband's freedom was no longer a legal case. 

"It's a political case. It's imprisoning a journalist on behalf of a foreign power. This case that was brought by the Trump administration, is the anathema to everything that the US says it stands for."

The Trump administration added 17 charges against Assange under the Espionage Act in 2019.

Stella Assange was in Berlin on Friday for the release of a new documentary about her husband's quest for freedom at the Berlin Human Rights film festival.

Assange documentary premieres in Germany

The interview with Stella Assange was conducted by Gerhard Elfers

Edited by: Rob Turner

Roshni Majumdar Roshni is a writer at DW's online breaking news desk and covers stories from around the world.@RoshniMaj