The mother of Julian Assange’s children has opened up about the couple’s prison wedding plans and her push for Australian citizenship.
South African-born lawyer Stella Morris and Assange began dating in 2015 after she helped work on a legal bid to halt his extraditions.
The 49-year-old Australian faces espionage charges over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. intelligence documents.
He was also wanted in Sweden after being accused of rape. Assange always denied the sex allegations, which have now been dropped.
Gabriel, three, and his brother Max, one, were conceived while Assange was hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
South African-born lawyer Stella Morris (right) and Assange (left) began dating in 2015 after she helped work on a legal bid to halt his extraditions
‘It was a rational decision, I was 33 at the time and I knew I wanted children and it was faith in our love for each other and the certainty, a feeling that this was right,’ Ms Morris told Sydney Morning Herald.
The WikiLeaks founder was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012 until April 2019 when he was dragged out and taken to prison.
Ms Morris said she plans to marry Assange outside Belmarsh Prison in London’s outskirts by Christmas this year.
The couple’s children visited Assange in prison last month and Ms Morris tries to keep him ‘present’ in their lives by talking about him and watching videos.
‘I don’t want Julian to become a martyr. We’re a family, he’s not a symbol to us. He’s part of … he’s Daddy. So I just tell them that Daddy’s coming home,’ she said.
But Ms Morris is aware there is a chance the children will never be reunited with their father again.
She would love to move to Australia – as long as the government can protect her family.
‘I’ll live wherever he is safe and that’s why I want Australia to tell us that he will be safe there,’ she said.
Gabriel, three, and his brother Max, one, were conceived while Assange was hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London
Ms Morris said she asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for political intervention but claims she was told they won’t protect Assange from extradition.
Assange’s partner previously lifted the lid on how the couple managed to have children while he was holed up inside the embassy.
‘We grew closer and became friends and watched movies together and I just loved spending time with him. It was very romantic and cautious and very sweet,’ she told 60 Minutes earlier this year.
‘It wasn’t easy but when you’re with someone you love you can make impossible situations possible.’
When Gabriel was conceived in 2016, Assange had been inside the embassy for four years and was thought to be under constant surveillance by American security services.
Pictured: Assange arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last year
But Ms Morris said she and Assange – who became engaged in 2017 – conceived both their sons in rooms of the embassy that didn’t have CCTV cameras.
‘Julian had private spaces, his bedroom and office had no cameras,’ she said.
‘But when I got pregnant the first time there were microphones everywhere, so I had to write it down on a piece of paper to tell him.
‘We loved each other, and we wanted to start a family. All these other circumstances would change but that was a certainty. I got pregnant and we were over the moon,’ she said.
Ms Morris was able to hide both her pregnancies from authorities and the media, who still weren’t privy to any romantic relationship between the pair.
‘I just piled on layers [of clothes] and complained about getting fat to hide it,’ she said.
Julian Assange’s long legal battle
Assange creates Wikileaks with a group of like-minded activists and IT experts to provide a secure way for whistleblowers to leak information. He quickly becomes its figurehead and a lightning rod for criticism.
March: U.S. authorities allege Assange engaged in a conspiracy to hack a classified U.S. government computer with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
July: Wikileaks starts releasing tens of thousands of top secrets documents, including a video of U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007. What followed was the release of more than 90,000 classified US military files from the Afghan war and 400,000 from Iraq that included the names of informants.
August: Two Swedish women claim that they each had consensual sex with Assange in separate instances when he was on a 10-day trip to Stockholm. They allege the sex became non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom.
First woman claims Assange was staying at her apartment in Stockholm when he ripped off her clothes. She told police that when she realized Assange was trying to have unprotected sex with her, she demanded he use a condom. She claims he ripped the condom before having sex.
Second Swedish woman claims she had sex with Assange at her apartment in Stockholm and she made him wear a condom. She alleges that she later woke up to find Assange having unprotected sex with her.
He was questioned by police in Stockholm and denied the allegations. Assange was granted permission by Swedish authorities to fly back to the U.K.
November: A Swedish court ruled that the investigation should be reopened and Assange should be detained for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol.
Wikileaks releases its cache of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.
December: Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. Assange is granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.
February: A British judge rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden but Wikileaks found vows to fight the decision.
April: A cache of classified U.S. military documents is released by Wikileaks, including intelligence assessments on nearly all of the 779 people who are detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
November: Assange loses High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.
June: Assange enters the Ecuadorian embassy in London requesting political asylum.
August: Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.
June: Assange tells a group of journalists he will not leave the embassy even if sex charges against him are dropped out of fear he will be extradited to the U.S.
August: Swedish prosecutors drop investigation into some of the sex allegations against Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.
July: Wikileaks begins leaking emails U.S. Democratic Party officials favoring Hillary Clinton.
November: Assange is questioned over the sex allegation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell. The interview spans two days.
January: Barack Obama agrees to free whistleblower Chelsea Manning from prison. Her pending release prompts speculation Assange will end his self-imposed exile after Wikileaks tweeted he would agree to U.S. extradition.
April: Lenin Moreno becomes the new president of Ecuador who was known to want to improve diplomatic relations between his country and the U.S.
May: An investigation into a sex allegation against Assange is suddenly dropped by Swedish prosecutors.
January: Ecuador confirms it has granted citizenship to Assange following his request.
February: Assange is visited by Pamela Anderson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel.
March: The Ecuadorian Embassy suspends Assange’s internet access because he wasn’t complying with a promise he made the previous year to ‘not send messages which entailed interference in relation to other states’.
August: U.S. Senate committee asks to interview Assange as part of their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
September: Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks.
October: Assange reveals he will launch legal action against the government of Ecuador, accusing it of violating his ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’.
November: U.S. Justice Department inadvertently names Assange in a court document that says he has been charged in secret.
January: Assange’s lawyers say they are taking action to make President Trump’s administration reveal charges ‘secretly filed’ against him.
April 6: WikiLeaks tweets that a high level Ecuadorian source has told them Assange will be expelled from the embassy within ‘hours or days’. But a senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to remove him from the London building.
April 11: Assange has his diplomatic asylum revoked by Ecuador and he is arrested by the Metropolitan Police; he is remanded in custody by a judge at Westminster Magistrates Court.
April 12: He is found guilty of breaching his bail terms.
May 1: Sentenced to 11 months in jail.
May 2: Court hearing takes place over Assange’s proposed extradition to the U.S. He tells a court he does not consent to the extradition and the case is adjourned until May 30.
May 13: Swedish prosecutors reopen rape case saying they still want to question Assange.
June 3: Swedish court rules against detaining him in absentia, setting back the extradition case.
June 12 Home Secretary Sajid Javid signs an extradition request from the US.
June 13 A hearing sets out the date for Assange’s full extradition hearing – February next year.
November Swedish prosecutors stop investigation into an allegation of rape against Mr Assange
November 25 – Medics say without correct medical care Assange ‘could die’ in Belmarsh
December 13 – Hearing in London hears he is being blocked from seeing key evidence in case
December 19 – Appears at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via video-link where his lawyer claims US bid to extradite him is ‘political’.
June: Assange failed to appear via video link for his most recent court matter in London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court