Assange fiancee urges Trump to ‘end this now’ and ‘tear down these prison walls’

Emily Pennink, PA Old Bailey Correspondent
·3-min read

The fiancee of Julian Assange has called on Donald Trump to “tear down these prison walls” and “end this now”.

Stella Moris had wept in Court Two of the Old Bailey as a judge rejected the US government’s bid to extradite him due to his suicide risk.

Ms Moris, who has two young sons with the 49-year-old WikiLeaks founder, hailed the victory, but held off celebrating until he is freed from prison.

Instead, she issued a direct plea to the outgoing US president to call a halt to the case.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange appearing at the Old Bailey in London for the ruling in his extradition case
Court artist sketch of Julian Assange appearing at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Ms Moris said: “I call on the president of the United States to end this now.

“Mr President, tear down these prison walls. Let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, free the press, free us all.”

Speaking to a large crowd of journalists and well-wishers outside the central London court, she said: “Today is a victory for Julian. Today’s victory is a first step towards justice in this case.

“I had hoped today would be the day Julian would come home. Today is not that day but that day will come soon.”

Referring to the months Assange has already spent in custody, she said: “As long as Julian has to endure suffering in isolation as an unconvicted prisoner at Belmarsh prison, as long as our children continue to be robbed of their father’s love and affection, we cannot celebrate. We will celebrate the day he comes home.”

During the hour-long ruling, Judge Vanessa Baraitser had accepted defence evidence that Assange had suffered from severe depression during his incarceration.

Julian Assange extradition
Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange celebrate outside the Old Bailey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Faced with the prospect of being placed under special administrative measures in isolation at a supermax jail, authorities would not be able to prevent him from taking his own life, the court heard.

Ms Moris said: “We are pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness and inhumanity of what he has endured and what he faces.

“But let’s not forget the indictment in the US has not been dropped.

“We are extremely concerned that the US government decided to appeal this decision.

“It continues to want to punish Julian and make him disappear into the deepest, darkest hole of the US prison system for the rest of his life.

“That will never happen. We will never accept that journalism is a crime in this country, or any other.”

The judge had also referred to allegations that Assange and his associates had been bugged at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, saying they were being investigated by a court in Spain.

Julian Assange extradition
Stella Moris speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey (Yui Mok/PA)

Judge Baraitser said it was not appropriate to make any ruling on the facts of the alleged incidents.

But Ms Moris told journalists it was “sickening”

She said: “Let’s not forget that US agents plotted to kill Julian on British soil.

“His British solicitors were deliberately targeted by name and their documents were stolen, their legal operations even targeted our six-month-old baby. It is sickening and it is also a threat to everyone.”

Ms Moris continued: “On behalf of Julian and myself, I want to thank the millions of people around the world and the institutions that are already calling for this persecution to end.

“I ask you all to shout louder, you lobby harder, until he is free. I call on everyone else to come together to defend Julian’s rights; not just Julian’s rights, they are your rights too.

“Julian’s freedom is coupled to all our freedoms and our freedoms are lost in the blink of an eye.

“I call on insiders to come forward to expose the full extent of the misconduct that has led to Julian’s imprisonment.”