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12 Apr, 2020 10:21

Assange’s mother fact-checks media, as story of her son’s previously hidden family published

Assange’s mother fact-checks media, as story of her son’s previously hidden family published

Julian Assange’s mother has gone on the offensive against slanted reporting after her son’s legal adviser revealed having two children with the WikiLeaks co-founder.

Stella Morris, a South African-born lawyer who helped Assange work on a legal bid to end extradition threats against him, revealed that the journalist fathered two sons with her during his years of political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In a video statement, Morris said she was coming forward because their lives were “on the brink” and she feared Assange could die in prison as he awaits a ruling over his extradition to the United States. There is growing concern that Covid-19 could endanger Assange in Belmarsh Prison, where he is currently being held.

The heartfelt appeal was quickly seized upon by media outlets. Christine Assange, the mother of the Australian journalist, took to Twitter to fact-check the Mail on Sunday.

Her son wasn’t “holed up” in the Ecuadorian Embassy – as the Mail on Sunday asserts, but rather had been granted political asylum. She also disputed how the paper characterized the rape allegations made against Assange, which have since been dropped.

Also, the outlet’s suggestion, citing the US government, that WikiLeaks endangered lives by publishing evidence of US war crimes and other classified material also received a strong rebuke.

Similarly outraged observers weighed in on the wording.

The idea that Assange was “holed up” in London – implying he was hiding from justice, has become a common trope in the media, noted one reply.

Citing the US government’s claim that WikiLeaks has put lives at risk is beyond absurd, argued another netizen, noting that Washington’s own probe into the issue contradicts the allegation.

Also on rt.com Belmarsh ‘barely functioning’: Assange tells friend Covid-19 is raging through British prison

Calls to release Assange have grown louder amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. A journalist who recently spoke with Assange on the phone has reported that Belmarsh is “barely functioning” due to coronavirus “ripping” through the prison. Despite the dangers to his health, Assange has been denied bail by the British justice system as he awaits a decision on his extradition to the US.

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