Assange plans to marry partner in prison

·3-min read

Julian Assange and his partner Stella Moris are planning to get married in prison in the UK, but will have to overcome bureaucratic hurdles to allow the nuptials.

Assange, an Australian-born journalist, has spent more than two years in London's high-security Belmarsh prison.

His relationship with Moris began during the period Assange spent in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he claimed political asylum.

The couple now have two sons, aged four and two-and-a-half.

"We're looking into getting married in the prison because we've been engaged since 2016," Moris told dpa ahead of the Wikileaks founder's 50th birthday on July 3.

He said the circumstances had not allowed them to go ahead with their plans yet.

"And if we get married in the prison, then I don't think that will be the only celebration," she said.

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

She said no date had been set yet but the two were working through the necessary bureaucracy and hoped to marry "soon."

"It's quite complicated," she said, noting that the pandemic had made it even more so.

"We have spoken to the Belmarsh chaplain services about it and they said they haven't seen a wedding in Belmarsh for as long as they've been there, which is 12 years. So it's not a straightforward thing to do."

She said the couple needed certificates from their respective countries to prove they had not been previously married, for example.

"So it's quite a long bureaucratic process, but we have started it."

Moris said the plans also depended on the prison's governor allowing them to marry in prison, and noted that there could be concerns as Assange is Australian and his visa had expired.

It was also unclear whether guests could attend during the pandemic, she said.

Technically, Belmarsh could allow Assange out for a day but that planning this would be even more complicated, given the backlog after large numbers of people delayed their marriages during Britain's lockdown.

"We're just seeing how it goes."

Assange has been accused of conspiring with former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.

The secret documents relating to the military engagement of Allied forces in Afghanistan were released on Wikileaks while Assange also collaborated with journalists at prominent news outlets.

His supporters and press freedom groups view him as an investigative reporter who has brought war crimes to light.

A total of 18 charges have been lodged by Washington, which argues he put the lives of US informants at risk. If found guilty, Assange could be jailed in the US for 175 years.

A British judge recently denied an extradition request from the US for Assange to face charges of espionage there, due to concerns about his health.

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