Demonstrators protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Monday where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been attending a case management hearing as he fights extradition to the US. The 48-year-old Australian has been in custody at the high-security Belmarsh prison in southwest London since being dragged from Ecuador’s embassy in April. Photo: AFP
The 48-year-old Australian is allegedly the dad of two boys – aged two and one – born to South African-born lawyer Stella Morris, the Mail on Sunday reported.
The newspaper published the report alongside photographs of Assange with the toddlers and an interview with Morris who said they “fell in love” and were planning to marry.
The couple has been engaged since 2017, according to The Mail, which said it learned about the revelations in court papers, seen by the paper on Sunday.
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 Mail on Sunday said 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,” due to the spread of coronavirus.
Morris wants the one-time hacker released under British government plans to allow some prisoners temporary release, amid fears that COVID-19 could sweep through jails.
But Assange failed in a bail bid in March based on his risk of catching the virus, with a British judge saying there were “no grounds” for his release.
Assange’s lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
WikiLeaks responded to the report 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,” it said.
The whistleblowing organization posted its own video interview with Morris soon after, in which she detailed her purported five-year relationship with Assange.
Assange 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.