Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been given permission to marry his fiancée Stella Morris in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison, in London, on 23 March.
Stella is a member of his legal team and the mother of his two young children. The couple had to fight for their right to marry, even bringing legal action against the UK Government.
Julian and Stella will be dressed by Vivienne Westwood. Julian will wear a kilt, honouring his Scottish ancestry.
They will be permitted only four guests and have been denied the request to marry in the prison’s chapel, despite the fact that Julian regularly worships there.
Circumstances not ideal
Stella Morris has said that the right to marry is ‘written into law’ in the UK. ‘Of course, the circumstances are not ideal but I am relieved that reason has prevailed and I hope there will be no further interference with our marriage,’ she said.
‘Julian is not charged with any crime in this country, he is not serving a sentence, his imprisonment serves no purpose at all other than to prolong and make his suffering worse. I hope the injustice of this situation is swiftly brought to an end so that we can enjoy marriage outside of the walls of Belmarsh when he is freed.’
Held in legal limbo, Julian Assange continues to await the outcome of a US extradition request to face charges of ‘espionage’ for publishing evidence of war crimes and torture. Press freedom groups warn this unprecedented prosecution would criminalise fundamental journalistic practices.
Assange recently suffered a minor stroke, and doctors warn this will likely lead to a fatal stroke if his conditions are not improved quickly. He is detained in solitary confinement 23 hours per day, which fits the definition of torture under international law.
The Australian Government has been criticised for ‘sitting on their hands’ over one of their citizens. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer said The Australian Government as ‘failed to support Julian Assange, and is complicit in his psychological torture.’
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark recently said on social media, ‘You do wonder when the hatchet can be buried with Assange? And not buried in his head by the way. But at some point, could people move on?
‘I do think that the information that’s been disclosed by whistle-blowers down through the ages has been very important in broader publics getting to know what is really going on behind the scenes. And should people pay this kind of price for that? I don’t think so…
‘The real issue really is the activities they were exposing, not their actions of exposure.’