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Stella Moris, the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, suggested that her husband would kill himself if he is extradited to the United States after the British Home secretary approved a judge’s order to fly Assange from the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison in London to Virginia to stand trial.
British Home Secretary Pristi Patel approved the order on Thursday; paving the way for Assange, a native Australian, to stand trial on espionage charges.
“If he’s extradited to the U.S., the conditions he will be under will be oppressive,” Stella Moris told a press conference Friday. “It will drive him to take his own life. That’s not simply a regular discussion about mental health. We are talking about driving a person to take their own life.”
American officials have informed the British government that Assange will not be held in maximum security if he is extradited.
Moris said Assange’s declaration that he would kill himself was made “recently,” adding that she would fight the order with “every available avenue. … I’m going to use every waking hour fighting for Julian until he is free,” The Daily Mail reported.
“We are not at the end of the road here,” Moris insisted. “We are going to fight this. We are going to use every available avenue. I’m going to use every waking hour fighting for Julian until he is free, until justice is served. … we have the conviction that this wrong will be righted and the courts will, eventually, do the right thing.”
Moris said Assange’s latest appeal, which he has 14 days to file, would offer evidence that the CIA allegedly tried to kill him with poison when he took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he spent seven years hiding starting in 2012.
In May, the British Supreme Court denied Assange permission to appeal his extradition to the U.S.
Assange has been accused of aiding U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack a classified government computer and steal classified diplomatic cables and military files which WikiLeaks published; in 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison; the sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama in 2017.
“The Obama administration was forced to rush to safety foreign friends whom Manning had outed as helping Americans,” National Review noted in 2017. “He broke faith with every relevant provision of the Army’s warrior ethos — he abandoned his mission, he actively aided the enemy, and he acted with stunning disregard for the lives of his comrades.”
Assange also is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents regarding the United States’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Under the Extradition Act 2003, the Secretary of State must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made,” a spokesman for the British Home Office stated.
“Extradition requests are only sent to the Home Secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case,” their spokesman continued. “On June 17, following consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the U.S. was ordered. Mr. Assange retains the normal 14-day right to appeal. In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange.”
“Anyone in this country who cares about freedom of expression should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination,” WikiLeaks charged. “Julian did nothing wrong. He has committed no crime and is not a criminal. He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job. It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing. Instead she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”