Julian Assange’s partner launches crowdfunding campaign to raise more than £500,000 to fight against US government’s big to extradite him
- Stella Moris, 37, accused Trump administration of ‘targeting’ WikiLeaks founder
- She has set up a crowdfunding page for his defence seeking £25,000
- Julian Assange, 49, has been held at Belmarsh Prison, London, for 16 months
The partner of Julian Assange has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise more than £500,000 to fight against the US government’s bid to extradite him.
Stella Moris, 37, said it is a ‘David vs Goliath’ legal case with ‘unthinkable’ ramifications, and accused the Trump administration of ‘targeting’ the WikiLeaks founder and father of her two children.
Assange has been held at Belmarsh Prison, London, for 16 months ahead of his extradition hearing in September.
The US stepped up its case at the ’11th hour’ last week after submitting further allegations against the 49-year-old which would see him spending even longer behind bars.
Assange faces 18 charges under the US espionage act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
He is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
Stella Moris, 37 (second right), has launched a £25,000 crowdfunding initiative to fund Julian Assange’s defence. He has been held in Belmarsh prison, London, for 16 months
Ms Moris said her partner and father of her two children (pictured) is being ‘targeted’ by the Trump administration. She added the legal case is ‘monumental’ with serious ramifications
Ms Moris has launched a preliminary appeal for £25,000 on CrowdJustice to cover the costs of the defence in the magistrates court.
But she is expecting to need significantly more should the case continue all the way to the Supreme Court.
The case’s spiralling legal costs have already reached more than £500,000, leaving the campaign team with the aim ‘to raise as much as possible’ through donations.
Launching her appeal, Ms Moris said: ‘Julian is being targeted by the United States administration for the crime of journalism.
‘He helped expose war crimes and human rights abuses which the US would have preferred to keep hidden from public view. No-one has been held responsible for the serious crimes Julian has exposed. This extradition aims to entomb and silence him forever.
‘This is a monumental legal case which is an attack on everyone’s right to know about scandals which politicians and governments want buried. If the US government is successful, the ramifications are unthinkable.
‘It is a battle of David v Goliath and we can’t do this alone. We are calling on people everywhere to join us in this fight.’
She said Assange is confined to his cell at least 23 hours a day and has had no visitors since March.
The page has almost reached its funding target following donations from 365 people
Assange, 49, faces 17 charges under the US espionage act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Pictured: Protesters outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week
Baltasar Garzon, who leads Assange’s international defence, said: ‘This is an unprecedented legal battle and so much is at stake.
‘Doing justice to Mr Assange’s defence is a vast undertaking. The legal team is having to do this with Julian, the most able person to contribute, locked away in prison.’
The CrowdJustice appeal has so far received £17,418 from 365 donors.
Assange’s lawyers worked to decide whether they would seek a further delay to his trial at a magistrates court in the Old Bailey last week, after the US brought fresh charges.
Florence Iveson, representing Assange, said the 33-page submission was ‘astonishing’ and ‘potentially abusive’, claiming the US was ‘seeking to add a considerable amount of conduct and seeking to extend the case significantly’.
The extradition hearing was initially set for May, but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ms Moris and Assange have been engaged since 2017. They fell in love after she came to work on his case five years ago.
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 2020: Assange failed to appear via video link for his most recent court matter in London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court
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