According to his wife, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, will ask for release from the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison to attend Dame Vivienne Westwood’s funeral.
For more than a decade, Dame Vivienne was an outspoken ally and friend of Mr. Assange, memorably speaking out against his detention while hung in a bird cage.
She passed away on Thursday, age 81, in London.
Due to allegations relating to the release of thousands of confidential papers in 2010 and 2011, Mr. Assange is contesting his extradition to the US.
His wife Stella Assange revealed to the BBC that her husband and the fashion designer have a close personal bond. Assange has previously referred to Dame Vivienne as “irreplaceable.”
Knowing Mr. Assange for more than ten years, she claimed that Dame Vivienne was a staunch advocate for the work done by WikiLeaks.
Ms. Assange stated, “I know that Julian would want to honor her, and his attorney has been requested to submit a request for him to attend.
According to a Ministry of Justice spokesperson, it is unlikely that such a request will be granted because this type of leave is solely intended for immediate family members.
He clarified that there was no specific prohibition, and it was up to the jail governors to make a decision in each individual instance.
Applications should “balance security considerations with those of decency, and should only be declined on security grounds,” according to a pertinent guideline paper.
Mrs. Assange argued there were “strong compassionate reasons why it should,” insisting there was “no clear reason” why the prison would be unable to approve the request.
The funeral arrangements for Dame Vivienne have not yet been made public.
The controversial punk and new wave fashions of the Derbyshire-born designer gained her notoriety in the 1970s, and she went on to dress a number of prominent celebrities.
She was referred to as a “pillar of the anti-establishment” by Mr. Assange himself in remarks posted on Twitter by his wife.
He praised Dame Vivienne’s ingenuity and kindness and said he and many others would miss her dearly.
One eye-catching demonstration of Dame Vivienne’s support for the Wikileaks founder took place in 2020 outside the Old Bailey when she was suspended within a sizable cage.
She referred to her friend’s arrest as a “stitch-up” and led the crowd in calling for her friend’s release.
The wedding dress worn by Julian and Stella Assange during their intimate Belmarsh ceremony earlier this year was also created by Dame Vivienne.
Mrs. Assange claimed that during Mr. Assange’s protracted stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London as well as in Belmarsh, she solidified their connection by paying them frequent visits.
They rang in 2015 together at the embassy, she continued.
For seven years, Mr. Assange sought shelter there in order to evade extradition. Along with his involvement with Wikileaks, he was accused of rape in Sweden. Later, that probe was abandoned.
However, he was expelled from the embassy in 2019 and detained; as a result, he is currently being tried in the US for leaking military intelligence.
The UK government has granted a request to deliver him. Mr. Assange, who is challenging this, has claimed that the prosecution of him is politically motivated.