NEWS: Julian Assange Freed From Prison

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been freed from prison after settling a plea deal with the US Justice Department.

Assange has plead guilty to violating US espionage law, specifically one count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified US national defence documents.

According to reports, Assange has been released from Belmarsh maximum security prison and is en route to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands to be sentenced.

WikiLeaks posted a statement on X:

“After more than five years in a 2×3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars,” it reads.
“WikiLeaks published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding the powerful accountable for their actions.
“As editor-in-chief, Julian paid severely for these principles, and for the people’s right to know.
“As he returns to Australia, we thank all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom.”

It is likely that Assange will return to Australia in the coming days.

Julian Assange gained international notoriety in 2010 when WikiLeaks published sensitive documents about US military and Intelligence operations in a series of leaks provided by whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

That same year, Sweden issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest, seeking to question him as part of an investigation regarding two allegations of sexual misconduct. By the end of 2010, he was listed on Interpol’s Most Wanted list. He sought political asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in 2012, fearing extradition to the US.

His asylum was withdrawn in April 2019 and Assange was subsequently incarcerated at HM Prison Belmarsh in London. In 2020, the US government charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917.

Assange’s plea deal with the US Justice Department and his imminent return to Australia brings to close a staggering legal saga that has dominated debate about freedom of speech for over a decade.

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