Julian Assange’s fiancee claims that officials prevented media from being there as witnesses during the couple’s wedding at Belmarsh jail because they don’t want him to be regarded as a “human person.”
After the US initiated legal proceedings to extradite him to stand prosecution on espionage allegations, the WikiLeaks co-founder was allowed permission last year to marry Stella Moris, with whom he has two children, inside the jail where he has been imprisoned since 2019.
From a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange welcomes supporters.
Moris characterizes the wedding site as “the most draconian high-security jail in the country” in a piece for the Guardian ahead of her wedding on Wednesday. Moris, a lawyer, is due to appear to the jail in south London soon before noon, dressed in a gown made by Dame Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler, two of Assange’s supporters.
She also writes about the couple’s behind-the-scenes battle with the Ministry of Justice and jail authorities, who she claims have refused their prospective witnesses because they are journalists. She also mentioned that a prospective photographer was turned down because he works for the press, despite the fact that they would all be attending in a private capacity.
“Our wedding picture is a security concern, according to the jail, because it may end out on social media or in the press,” she writes. “What a farce. What type of security risk does a wedding photograph pose?”
According to Moris, photography is allowed in Belmarsh on a regular basis, and far-right activist Tommy Robinson and other convicted inmates were allowed to be questioned on camera while ITV recorded inside the jail.
“However, there appear to be distinct regulations for Julian, who isn’t even serving a term.” What do they have such a fear of? I believe they are afraid that Julian will be recognized as a human person. It’s a person, not a name. Their anxiety suggests that they want Julian to be as anonymous as possible, even on his wedding day, and especially on his wedding day. For him to vanish from the public sphere.”
The couple will be accompanied by their two children, Assange’s father and brother, and the bride’s sister and mother for the ceremony, which will be performed by the jail registrar.
After the ceremony, Moris is anticipated to cut the wedding cake and offer a speech. Instead of sending presents, fans are being requested to donate to a crowdfunding campaign supporting his fight against extradition by the US government.
“All weddings in jails must fulfill the conditions stipulated in the Prison Service policy,” a Prison Service representative said.
They also stated that in prisons, photography for weddings is facilitated by prison staff, in accordance with established national policy on photographing prisoners, which states that the governor has the authority to prohibit images from being taken if it is believed that they will be shared publicly, jeopardizing prison security.
As a result, they claim, jail employees snap images.
After the UK’s highest court refused to hear his appeal against extradition earlier this month, Assange came to a step closer to facing espionage charges in the United States. He was hoping to overturn a December ruling by the top court that said he may be extradited after receiving assurances from US officials about his jail circumstances.
The supreme court, on the other hand, decided it would not grant permission to appeal because “the application did not raise an arguable issue of law.” Following the ruling, the case is set to be formally forwarded to Priti Patel, the home secretary, for approval of the extradition.
Before the home secretary’s judgment, Assange’s attorneys had a few weeks to submit arguments to her. Other avenues for fighting his extradition remain open, including filing a challenge on other legal concerns filed at first instance that he lost and that has not yet been appealed.