WikiLeaks Says Julian Assange Is 'free,' Has Left UK

WikiLeaks says Julian Assange is 'free,' has left UK

Washington, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Jun, 2024) Julian Assange was released from prison Monday and has left Britain, WikiLeaks said, as he reached a landmark plea deal with US authorities that brought an end to his years-long legal drama.

"Julian Assange is free," WikiLeaks wrote on X of its founder, who had been detained in Britain for five years as he fought extradition to the United States which sought to prosecute him for revealing military secrets.

He has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defense information, according to a document filed in court in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.

Assange is scheduled to appear in the US territory on Wednesday morning local time.

He is expected to be sentenced to 62 months in prison, with credit for the five years and two months he has served in prison in Britain. This means he could return to his native Australia.

The Australian government responded that Assange's case had "dragged on for too long" and there was "nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration."

The publisher, now aged 52, was wanted by Washington for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret US documents from 2010 as head of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

During his ordeal Assange became a hero to free speech campaigners around the world and a villain to those who thought he endangered US national security and intelligence sources by revealing secrets.

US authorities wanted to put Assange on trial for divulging military secrets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The plea bargain agreement will presumably end Assange's nearly 14-year legal drama.

Assange was indicted by a US Federal grand jury in 2019 on 18 counts stemming from WikiLeaks' publication of a trove of national security documents.