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Julian Assange Freed Through a Plea Deal with the U.S., Will Return to Australia

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photo from WikiLeaks X page

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was released yesterday from London’s maximum-security HM Prison Belmarsh, where he has been unjustly imprisoned since 2019—never having been charged with a crime in the U.K.—and was taken to the airport, where he boarded a chartered flight to take him to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, where he will appear in a federal court on June 26. Assange was granted bail by the High Court in London after he reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, whereby he will plead guilty to one count of the Espionage Act of “conspiring to obtain and disseminate classified national defense information” in exchange for a five-year jail sentence with credit for time served at Belmarsh. From there he will return to Australia.

In August 2012 Assange was granted asylum by the Ecuadorian government and lived at its London embassy until British authorities arrested him in April 2019, literally dragging him out of the embassy with the acquiescence of Ecuador’s then-President Lenin Moreno.

Great joy greeted the news of his release, and his wife Stella sent out a message of gratitude to all his friends and supporters internationally for their many years of fighting against his unjust imprisonment and persecution and demanding his release. Mrs. Assange has also unfortunately been forced to request donations from supporters to cover the $520,000 Julian now owes to cover the cost of the chartered flight carrying him from London to the Marianas, as he wasn’t allowed to board a commercial flight, and British authorities refused to pay for the chartered plane.

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