WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fathered two children with a lawyer who was representing him while he was holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London fighting extradition, the lawyer told a British newspaper on Sunday.
The Mail on Sunday said 37-year-old South African lawyer Stella Morris has been engaged to Assange since 2017. The couple have two sons, aged 1 and 2, both conceived while Assange was in the embassy and kept secret from media covering his case and intelligence agencies monitoring his activity, the paper said.
It showed pictures of Assange with a baby, identified as the older son, who it said had been smuggled into the embassy to meet him. Both of the children are British citizens, it said. Assange had watched the births on a video link.
The Australian-born Assange was dragged out of the embassy last year after a seven-year standoff, and is now jailed in Britain fighting extradition to the United States on computer hacking and espionage charges. His supporters say the U.S. case against him is political and he cannot receive a fair trial.
Morris said she had chosen to speak out now because she was worried about his susceptibility to the coronavirus in jail.
“I love Julian deeply and I am looking forward to marrying him,” the paper quoted her as saying.
“Over the past five years I have discovered that love makes the most intolerable circumstances seem bearable but this is different – I am now terrified I will not see him alive again.”
Miss Morris is revealing their long-term relationship and the existence of their sons because she fears Assange’s life is at serious risk if he remains in Belmarsh, where one inmate has already died of Covid-19.
She is pleading for her fiance to be released under Government plans to free thousands of prisoners to quell the spread of the deadly virus between bars.
WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange fathered two children inside the Ecuadorian embassy with lawyer, 37, who fell in love with him while helping his fight against extradition to the US
Miss Morris says Assange is doubly vulnerable because he suffers from a chronic lung condition exacerbated by his years inside the embassy and has mental health issues which become more severe as a result of isolation.
She said last night: ‘I love Julian deeply and I am looking forward to marrying him.
‘Over the past five years I have discovered that love makes the most intolerable circumstances seem bearable but this is different – I am now terrified I will not see him alive again.
‘Julian has been fiercely protective of me and has done his best to shield me from the nightmares of his life.
‘I have lived quietly and privately, raising Gabriel and Max on my own and longing for the day we could be together as a family.
‘Now I have to speak out because I can see that his life is on the brink.
‘Julian’s poor physical health puts him at serious risk, like many other vulnerable people, and I don’t believe he will survive infection with coronavirus.
‘Mentally, I do not think he will survive further enforced isolation either.
‘He is effectively in solitary confinement, in a cell for up for 23 and a half hours a day with no access to us, his family, or the psychiatric help he needs.’
Yesterday marked exactly a year since Assange was evicted from the embassy where he had been given political asylum, putting him beyond the reach of America.
The US wants him in court to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and one of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
All relate to the leak of 700,000 classified documents handed to WikiLeaks by former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) in 2010.
Washington says the leak endangered the lives of American agents and their sources working in the field. If found guilty, he could face 175 years in prison.