Julian Assange temporary release request denied to attend Vivienne Westwood funeral
Family of the late Vivienne Westwood are ‘deeply disappointed’ that the WikiLeaks founder was not granted temporary release from prison.
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WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has been denied permission to leave prison and attend the funeral of Dame Vivienne Westewood. Westwood’s family confirmed the news.
The family said they were “deeply disappointed that we were unable to fulfil Vivienne’s wishes but are unsurprised by the decision, which is unjust and in keeping with the inhumane treatment [Assange] has received from the UK authorities up to this point. Julian has not been convicted of any crime, yet he is treated as if he is a terrorist, the only thing he is guilty of is publishing the truth.”
Westwood, pioneer fashion designer and activist, was a vocal supporter of the founder and was seen at protests against his imprisonment. Westwood previously suspended herself in a birdcage in 2020 to protest against US attempts to extradite Assange from the UK.
Assange is currently held in Belmarsh prison in London, and continues to fight to avoid extradition to the US to face charges in connection with the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Stella Assange, who married her husband last year, said Westwood was “a rebel at heart” when she died. She also confirmed that the designer gave her a dress for her wedding in Belmarsh prison, saying it took the event ‘to the next level’.
Stella Assange spoke of her husband being unable to attend the funeral saying: “We are grateful to Vivienne’s family for their efforts to inform the prison of Vivienne’s wishes that Julian attend her funeral. Vivienne was courageous and called out the persecution of Julian from the start. We are disappointed at the refusal although cognisant that it is further proof that whatever the formal pretext, Julian’s indefinite, cruel and arbitrary imprisonment is punishing him for his political opinions.”
Dame Vivienne Westwood died on December 29, 2022 surrounded by her family in South London. The 81-year old was a pioneer for British Fashion and played a key role in the punk movement in the 1970s and to prominence by outfitting the Sex Pistols as they shot to fame.
Representatives for Westwood said she died “peacefully, surrounded by her family” adding She had continued to do the things she loved, including designing, working on her book and making art “up until the last moment”.
Andreas Kronthaler, her husband and creative partner, released a tribute following her death that read: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you darling.”