Julian Assange has been denied permission to leave prison for Vivienne Westwood’s funeral.
The news was confirmed by Westwood’s family, who said they were “deeply disappointed that we were unable to fulfil Vivienne’s wishes” (via ITV).
Westwood, the legendary British fashion designer and activist, died nearly two weeks ago (December 29) at the age of 81.
In 2019, Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had been claiming refuge for the last seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
He was then found guilty of failing to surrender to the court while facing US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for a bail violation.
Westwood was a friend of Assange and supported the WikiLeaks founder in his fight against extradition to the United States. In 2020, Westwood led a protest outside the Old Bailey in London while suspended in a giant bird cage. “Don’t extradite Assange – it’s a stitch-up,” she said at the time.
Westwood’s family added they were “unsurprised by the decision which is unjust and in keeping with the inhumane treatment he has received from the UK authorities up to this point.”
They continued: “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”.
Stella Assange, whose wedding dress was created by Westwood, said of the designer: “Vivienne was a Dame and a pillar of the anti-establishment. Bold, creative, thoughtful and a good friend. The best of Britain. She will be missed terribly by me and many others.”
Last month, Patti Smith paid tribute to Vivienne Westwood with a performance of ‘Redondo Beach’ at a gig. At the end of the ‘Horses’ classic, she said: “Goodbye, Vivienne”. Watch the performance here.