Julian Assange secretly fathered two children during his almost seven years in Ecuador’s embassy in London, according to a YouTube video released by WikiLeaks over the weekend. The WikiLeaks co-founder was forcibly removed from the embassy in April of 2019 and was sentenced to almost a year in prison for jumping bail in 2012. The video is a plea to release Assange from the UK’s Belmarsh prison on humanitarian grounds.
Titled “Assange Family” a woman in the video identified as Stella Morris says that she and Assange met in 2011 and “got together” in 2015. Morris is a 37-year-old lawyer originally from South Africa, according to the British tabloid the Daily Mail.
“We fell in love and this is a person I knew well by then; the person I know the most in this world,” Morris says in the YouTube video. “He’s extraordinary. He’s generous and he’s very tender and loving.”
The children are named in the video as 2-year-old Gabriel and 1-year-old Max. Assange watched the birth of both children via video link according to the Daily Mail and both are British citizens, according to Reuters. Morris claims that someone tried to “steal the DNA” of her baby, though it’s not immediately clear from the video who she’s talking about.
“They were after my baby’s DNA, but what else were they after?” Morris says in the video. “That’s partly why I feel now, that I have to... that I have to do this. Because I’ve taken so many steps over so many years and I feel like Julian’s life might be coming to an end.”
The Trump regime is trying to extradite Assange to the United States on charges of espionage and computer hacking. There’s an extradition hearing in May, though Assange has said that he’s slowly dying, even before the coronavirus pandemic became public knowledge. Assange reportedly has a chronic lung condition and is in danger of contracting covid-19, according to his mother Christine Assange. At least one prisoner at the Belmarsh prison has died of the new coronavirus, and allies of Assange claim that 150 people in the facility could have been exposed to the disease.
Morris explains that her language skills in Swedish and Spanish became relevant in Assange’s fight against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges as well as the political asylum case with Ecuador. The sexual misconduct charges in Sweden have since been dropped. The two fell in love and Morris says that starting a family was an act of defiance in war-like conditions.
“Forming a family was a deliberate decision to see... to kind of break down those walls around him. And imagine a life... beyond that prison,” Morris says in the video.
Morris is clearly feeling the psychological toll of Assange’s imprisonment and views him as a whistleblower being persecuted for his political actions.
“I don’t think people understand the extreme situation and pressure that we’ve been under—because Julian is a public figure, because everything about him is newsworthy, anything can be used against him and has been used against him,” Morris says in the video. “And so this was a real dilemma about having a relationship in these circumstances means you try to insulate it and protect it as fiercely as you can.”
Morris told the Daily Mail that she and Assange are engaged to be married. It’s unclear whether Assange knew that Morris would be making this announcement about the existence of their children and their engagement.
Lawyers for Assange claimed back in February that the Trump regime offered to pardon Assange if he denied that Russia had any role in hacking the Democrats. It’s well established that the Russian government was behind the hacking of emails that helped sway the 2016 election in favor of President Trump, but it’s unclear if the Republican who floated the idea of a pardon in 2017, fromer Representative Dana Rohrabacher, was acting with Trump’s knowledge. Shortly after Trump’s victory in 2016, the WikiLeaks Twitter account suggested to the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. that Assange be appointed as an ambassador.
“Somehow everyone has failed Julian, Morris says through tears. “They’ve all failed Julian.”