CHRISTINE ASSANGE. MOTHER’S COURAGE
*Wikileaks founder Julian Assange yesterday lost his appeal in London’s Supreme Court to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sexual assault accusations.
Mr Assange has been granted 14 days by the court to put in an application to reopen the case, after his lawyer, Dinah Rose QC, suggested the decision appeared to be based on a legal point that was not raised during the hearing.
Today Wikileaks supporters worldwide will rally to protest the court’s ruling which they fear will also lead to his extradition and imprisonment in the US.
By his side in London is Christine Assange, a mother fiercely dedicated to fighting for her son’s freedom.
Megan Kinninment interviewed Christine Assange in the lead-up to the court’s decision and found a woman under extraordinary pressure.
Julian Assange via Gawker.com.
All mothers worry about their kids. It goes with the territory.
Are they eating enough? Are they doing well at school? Will they be sent to America and be imprisoned and tortured? Oh, wait.
That last fear doesn’t crop up for most mothers, does it? For the mother of Wikileaks editor-in-chief, Julian Assange however, the fear is real.
As a journalist, I am fascinated by Wikileaks and its enigmatic Australian founder but as a mother I wonder how I would cope if it were my child under the spotlight of both the world’s media and the Pentagon. Last week I interviewed Christine Assange, 61, the mother of the man whose name returns over 28million results in a Google search.
I discovered a woman under extraordinary pressure.
In the coming days Julian Assange will hear the outcome of a UK Supreme Court appeal against extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sexual assault allegations made in 2010.
Christine Assange fears that once her son lands in Swedish soil he will be extradited to the US to be imprisoned for his role in publishing leaked secret diplomatic cables exposing the US government’s actions in the Iraq war.
Within seconds of ringing Christine Assange I sense I have entered a conflict zone and I am being briefed on the rules of engagement: There will be no face-to-face interview; any photo of her must be the side-on profile avatar she uses on Twitter (she wants to remain incognito in her new location); she will record our interview and insists I re-read her quotes to her before publication and stresses she wants “facts” in the story.
“I’m not doing this for myself, I am doing it for Jules,” she tells me.
And so begins the interview with a woman who is convinced not only is there a world-wide conspiracy against her son, but that his survival is intrinsically tied to the future of the free press and to democracy itself.
The stakes are high for Christine Assange.
She thinks her phones are being tapped; says she is trolled on Twitter and stalked in real life. She is having counselling.
She believes the Swedish allegations are revenge for the leaking of US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks in the same year, that her son has been framed.
She reveals to me where she is now living, only to retract the quote the next day, amending it to: “living in a secret location in Queensland, under a secret identity.”
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