WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has married his lawyer fiancée Stella Moris at a small ceremony in the London prison where he is held.
Assange, 50, has been held in high-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London since 2019 on a series of charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of a huge trove of classified documents more than a decade ago.
Supporters said the couple were allowed six guests, including Assange’s two brothers and his father, John Shipton.
The pair met while Ms Moris worked on Assange's legal case, and he was holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. They managed to keep their relationship and birth of two children secret from diplomats.
Ms Moris made an emotional speech to a crowd outside Belmarsh prison following her wedding.
Fighting back tears, she said: “I’m very happy but I’m very sad … I wish he were here …
“What we’re going through is inhuman.”
She added: “He’s the most amazing person in the world and he should be free.
“But our love will carry us through.”
Ms Moris posed for photos with her and Assange’s two young sons as they arrived outside the prison. She wore a wedding dress and veil embroidered with messages from friends and family. Her veil included words such as “wild”, “wilful”, “relentless” and “ardent".
The dress was designed by British designer Vivienne Westwood, who is among Assange’s more vocal and high-profile supporters. The satin dress featured a note from Dame Vivienne sewed into the coat, according to the designer.
Assange, who was not pictured, was also wearing a Vivienne Westwood waistcoat jacket and kilt, while their two young sons wore matching kilts.
Supporters cheered Ms Moris as she arrived and passing motorists sounded their horns.
She posed for photographs with her sons as Mr Shipton waved behind her.
Assange’s wedding comes just weeks before the third anniversary of his dramatic arrest when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorean embassy in the capital.
The WikiLeaks founder has been held in the high-security jail ever since as he fights extradition to the US, where he is wanted over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Assange has always denied wrongdoing and has won support for his case from human rights organisations and journalist groups across the world.
Craig Murray, 63, a “whistle-blower” and close friend of Assange, described the wedding as a “moment of hope and love in terrible circumstances”.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m very happy for them.
“It’s a moment of affirmation, of hope and love in terrible circumstances.”
Ms Moris wrote in the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday ahead of the wedding. “Every part of this private event is being intensely policed, from our guest list to the wedding picture,” she wrote.
“This is not a prison wedding, it is a declaration of love and resilience in spite of the prison walls, in spite of the political persecution, in spite of the arbitrary detention, in spite of the harm and harassment inflicted on Julian and our family,” she wrote.
Last week Britain’s Supreme Court refused Assange’s appeal against a High Court decision to extradite him to the US to face spying charges.
That development narrows Assange’s options, but his defence team may still seek to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights or challenge the original judge’s other findings. They could write to British Home Secretary Priti Patel in the coming weeks before she makes a decision on his extradition.
Assange denies wrongdoing and his supporters, including Amnesty International, argue that his extradition is politically motivated. They maintain he was entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing documents that exposed US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.