WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent over a decade in the United Kingdom as he fights a number of legal battles across the globe. However, new reports suggest he faced an even more daunting challenge while in the midst of the litigation.
According to Fox News, Assange’s fiancée tweeted on Saturday that the publisher and activist had suffered a stroke during court proceedings in late October.
Citing an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Fox News claimed Assange looked “disheveled, wearing an untucked shirt and baggy trousers” as he appeared before the court during an appeal hearing.
Lawyers warn of heightened suicide risk
Assange is fighting attempts by the United States government to extradite him on espionage charges. On Friday, Fox reported that a court in London rejected claims by Assange’s lawyers that he is likely to kill himself if surrendered to American authorities.
Attorneys representing the U.S. government denied that Assange is too mentally unstable to withstand being extradited and added that any prison sentence he is given could be served in his native Australia.
Despite the ruling, Assange’s fiancée and South African-born lawyer Stella Moris was quoted as telling Reuters that an appeal will be forthcoming.
“How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?” she asked. “We will appeal this decision at the earliest possible moment.”
WikiLeaks leaves lasting impact
Assange first rose to prominence as the founder of WikiLeaks, an organization that has a long history of disseminating classified materials. In 2010, the group released information pertaining to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that was provided by Army soldier Chelsea Manning.
WikiLeaks is also thought by many to have played a major role in the 2016 presidential election.
The group reportedly released a host of emails stolen from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of her campaign.
Many observers, including FiveThirtyEight contributor Harry Enten, have argued that revelations from WikiLeaks were “among the factors that might have contributed” to Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.