Julian Assange’s partner has said he is in ‘a lot of pain’ after she visited him in Belmarsh Prison for the first time in almost six months.

Stella Moris took the couple’s two children Gabriel, three, and Max, one, to meet their ‘much thinner’ father at the south-east London prison today.

The WikiLeaks founder, 49, is awaiting an extradition hearing on behalf of the US government, which is due to start at the Old Bailey on September 7.

Ms Moris said the visit was ‘incredibly stressful’ but expressed relief at being able to visit her partner for the first time since March 22.

She added the family had to wear face masks and visors during the 20-minute meeting, and Assange was not able to touch his children.

Stella Moris (middle) took the couple's two children Gabriel (right), three, and Max (left), one, to meet their father Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison in south-east London

Stella Moris (middle) took the couple’s two children Gabriel (right), three, and Max (left), one, to meet their father Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison in south-east London

‘We had to keep social distancing and Julian was told he would have to self-isolate for two weeks if he touched the children,’ Ms Moris said.

‘Julian said it was the first time he had been given a mask because things are very different behind the doors.

‘I could not see him very clearly because of the visors, but he looked a lot thinner.

‘He was wearing a yellow armband to indicate his level of prisoner status, and you could see how thin his arms were.

‘At least he got to see the children, even though he couldn’t touch them. The children were both calm – we all remained seated the whole time.’

The couple’s eldest son Gabriel showed Assange how he could recite the alphabet and count, his mother added.

Ms Moris said her partner is still suffering from a frozen shoulder, and had recently sprained his ankle.

‘He is in a lot of pain,’ she added.

The couple met when Assange was living inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London as he fought being extradited to the US over the activities of WikiLeaks.

The extradition hearing is due to start at the Old Bailey on September 7 and could last three or four weeks.

It was initially set for May but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Assange is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

He faces 18 charges under the US espionage act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

The US stepped up its case at the ’11th hour’ earlier this month after submitting further allegations against the 49-year-old which would see him spending even longer behind bars.

Florence Iveson, representing Assange, said the 33-page submission was ‘astonishing’ and ‘potentially abusive’, claiming the US was ‘seeking to add a considerable amount of conduct and seeking to extend the case significantly’.

Ms Moris has launched a crowdfunding appeal to try to raise £600,000 towards the cost of fighting extradition, with Assange’s legal costs already surpassing £500,000.

Around £47,000 has been raised so far.

Ms Moris expressed concern about Covid-related health measures as Assange is transported to and from the court every day.

She added that he has not had a face-to-face meeting with his legal team since lockdown began in March and only has limited access to the huge amount of paperwork generated by the case.

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