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Assange 'plans to marry in UK prison'

June 26, 2021

The WikiLeaks founder, who faces charges in the US over a massive leak of classified data, has been engaged to his partner since 2016. The couple hopes to marry in a London prison ahead of his 50th birthday on July 3.

Julian Assange
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange hopes to marry his partner ahead of his 50th birthdayImage: Peter Nicholls/REUTERS

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is planning to marry in the UK's Belmarsh prison, where he is currently being held, his fiancee Stella Moris told the German news agency DPA on Saturday.

Assange is in legal limbo after his extradition to the United States was rejected by a UK judge. He is wanted in the US for his role in one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information.

What are their plans?

Moris, who met Assange when he was holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, said they plan to marry first in the jail.

Moris then hopes that the couple would be able to celebrate their wedding with family and friends once Assange is free.

"The most likely thing is that we'll get married in the prison and then we'll have another kind of wedding celebrating with friends and family once he's free," Morris said.

She added that London's Belmarsh prison, where Assange is being held, hadn't seen a wedding in 12 years and so getting married wasn't a "straightforward thing to do."

Assange and Moris were engaged in 2016 and have two sons, aged 4 and 2 1/2.

Assange verdict: Rebecca Vincent (Reporters Without Borders) speaks to DW

What is the latest on Assange?

Assange still faces a series of charges that were first leveled against him by the Trump administration.

He is accused of leaking 500,000 classified files, which contained details of the US military campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2010. 

Assange's partner recently called on Washington to drop the charges if the US wished to return to its status of a fearless champion of press freedom, especially after the years of press erosion under former President Donald Trump.

President Barack Obama, and then-Vice President Joe Biden, had decided not to pursue Assange's extradition during their tenure.

They said the leaks were similar to journalistic activities and were protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

However, in February this year, the US Justice Department said it planned to continue to seek his extradition over the hacking charges.

Assange 'may not survive'

Both Assange's fiancee, as well as the British judge overseeing the extradition request, have said he may not survive the stress of being sent to Washington.

The US extradition request was rejected in January.

rm/mm(Reuters, dpa)