Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

WikiLeaks' Assange allegedly fathered two children with lawyer in Ecuador embassy

His lawyer Stella Morris claims they 'fell in love' and plan to wed

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is alleged to have fathered two children during his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is alleged to have fathered two children during his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has allegedly fathered two children with one of his lawyers while sheltering in Ecuador's embassy in London.

The 48-year-old Australian is allegedly the father of two boys – aged two and one – born to South African-born lawyer Stella Morris.

UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday published photographs of Assange with the toddlers and an interview with Ms Morris, who said they "fell in love" and were planning to marry.

The couple have been engaged since 2017, according to the paper, which said it learned about the children from court papers last week.

Assange is being held in London's high security Belmarsh Prison as he fights an extradition request by the United States to stand trial there on espionage charges.

The paper said Ms Morris chose to reveal their relationship and the existence of their sons because "she fears Assange's life is at serious risk if he remains in Belmarsh" because of the spread of coronavirus.

Ms Morris wants the one-time hacker released under British government plans to allow some prisoners temporary release, amid fears Covid-19 could sweep through jails.

But Assange last month failed in a bail bid based on his risk of catching the virus, when a British judge said there were "no grounds" for his release.

Assange's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

WikiLeaks posted on Twitter: "Julian Assange's newly revealed partner, mother of their 2 young children, urges UK government to bail him and other vulnerable prisoners as #coronavirus sweeps prisons."

Ms Morris has also released a video on YouTube of her and the children, urging for his release.

In it, she talks of her five-year relationship with Assange.

He faces charges under the US Espionage Act for the 2010 release of a trove of secret files detailing aspects of US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He ensconced himself in the Ecuadoran embassy in 2012 after skipping bail to avoid separate legal proceedings in Sweden, but was dragged out last year.

He reportedly conceived the first child with Ms Morris in 2016.

The couple's relationship started the previous year while the lawyer visited him to work on his legal situation, the paper claimed.

Assange watched the birth of both children in London hospitals by live video-link and met the elder boy, named Gabriel, after the child was smuggled into the embassy, the paper sad.

Both boys are said to be British citizens and have reportedly visited their father in prison.

Ms Morris told the Mail on Sunday: "I love Julian deeply and I am looking forward to marrying him.

"Julian has been fiercely protective of me and has done his best to shield me from the nightmares of his life."

She said she had lived "quietly and privately", raising Gabriel and his brother Max, while "longing for the day we could be together as a family".

Ms Morris added: "Now I have to speak out because I can see that his (Assange's) life is on the brink."

Updated: April 12, 2020 09:27 AM

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