Stella Assange's battle for freedom at the Wired Next Fest

Stella Assange's battle for freedom at the Wired Next Fest

The story of Stella Morris, married Assange, appears to have been written for a spy movie. Morris is an activist of international stature, as well as legal advisor, longtime partner and for several months the wife of one of the most famous defenders of press and information freedom of our time, Julian Assange. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is now being held in the Belmarsh maximum security prison in the United Kingdom. He and his wife have two children together, born respectively in 2017 and 2019.

Childhood and studies Stella Assange was born in South Africa, in 1983, with the name of Sara Gonzalez Devant. Her father, a Swedish of Cuban origins, is an architect, and her mother, a Spanish theater director. Throughout her youth, Stella lives in several countries, including Lesotho, Botswana, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Resistance to power seems to be in her DNA. Her mother grew up in Francisco Franco's Spain, and when the family moved to Botswana, Morris's parents were part of a theater company fighting against the apartheid regime, called Medu Art Ensemble. In 1985 some activists of the group, including a close friend of Morris's parents, were murdered by the South African authorities, in what would later become known as the Gaborone raid.

In 2002, Morris moved to Britain to attend the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) and the University of Oxford, specializing in law, political science and human rights. You also obtain a degree from the University of Madrid in international public law. While she is studying, she comes across WikiLeaks for the first time, the non-profit organization founded by her future husband in 2006.

Julian Assange and the decade in which journalism went on trial The first episode of Revolutionaries in code is dedicated to the founder of Wikileaks, the podcast dedicated to people who dreamed dangerously with the internet meeting with Julian Assange Stella Morris and Julian Assange know each other in 2011, when she decides to join the legal team that defends him for the Wikileaks case as a researcher. In 2010, WikiLeaks published 600,000 documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including videos revealing actual war crimes committed by the US military. At the time, Assange was struggling to oppose his extradition to Sweden, where he was facing trial on two counts of sexual offenses, one of rape and one of harassment, later dropped by the Swedish authorities after the Wikileaks case. Morris and Assange discover they have a lot in common: they both had a nomadic childhood, and both are children of theater directors. Assange's biological father was also an architect. "I found it a nice coincidence," Morris told the Guardian, in 2021.

Stella changes her name, for security reasons, in 2012. In the same year Assange finds refuge in the embassy of the Ecuador to London. The two began their relationship in 2015. They became engaged in 2017. Shortly after, their two children, Gabriel and Max, were born. Morris kept the identity of the father of the two children hidden for a long time, always as a protective measure for their safety. The atmosphere at the Ecuadorian embassy is becoming more and more tense: there is talk of plans by American intelligence to poison Assange, it is said that there was an attempt to get hold of a diaper from one of the children to test their DNA. Their relationship, and that with their first child, Gabriel, was born and raised under the cameras of the embassy, ​​in an increasingly hostile climate.

In 2019 Ecuador withdraws diplomatic support in Assange The journalist is arrested and translated or in jail in London, in Belmarsh. There, for over three years and amid a thousand difficulties (not least the coronavirus pandemic), he has met his wife and children. In March 2022, Stella Moris officially becomes Stella Assange. Their wedding takes place in Belmarsh, in the presence of a few guests and their two children. Morris wore a dress designed for the occasion by designer Vivienne Westwood, who has long supported Assange's cause.

The struggle waged by the Assange couple is one of the most important of our time. The journalist risks extradition to the United States, where he faces a trial for seventeen counts, including that of espionage. Journalists and activists around the world are pressing for the charges against Assange to be dropped: the perseverance of the authorities of various countries in prosecuting his case is considered by many to be a serious threat to journalistic freedom. Stella Assange will be a guest at the Next Fest, to be held in Milan on 7 and 8 October 2022, where she will relaunch the commitment to press freedom and the protection of sources as a fundamental pillar of the democracy of the future.

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