WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is free, ending standoff with the US - Hindustan Times
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is free, ending standoff with the US

Jun 25, 2024 08:05 AM IST

Julian Assange reaches a plea deal to avoid imprisonment in the US for a government data breach.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is set free from the Belmarsh prison after he has agreed to a plea deal for his alleged involvement in a government data breach.

Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)(AP)
Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)(AP)

According to recently filed federal court documents, the agreement with the US Justice Department enables him to avoid imprisonment.

Under the terms of the deal, Assange will plead guilty to one count of conspiring to obtain and disclose information related to national defense in a U.S. federal court in Saipan, located in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific. This plea is expected to occur this week, according to the court papers.

Assange previously spent five years in a British prison while contesting extradition to the United States.

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‘Julian Assange is free’

WikiLeaks said through their official X account posted “Julian Assange is free” from the Belmarsh prison on Monday morning after “having spent 1901 days there”.

“He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK. This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations,” the X statement continued.

“This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalised.”

'Julian's freedom is our freedom'

The WikiLeaks founder is expected to back to Australia once his plea and sentencing has been completed on Wednesday morning, local time in the Mariana Islands, which is a part of the US.

An Australian government spokesperson told AP, “We are aware Australian citizen Mr Julian Assange has legal proceedings scheduled in the United States. Given those proceedings are ongoing, it is not appropriate to provide further comment.”

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“Prime Minister Albanese has been clear – Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and there is nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration.”

WikiLeaks continued their post thanking “all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom.”

The company concluded the post saying, “Julian's freedom is our freedom.”

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