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  • 22 Jul, 2024

'Julian Assange will be freed': WikiLeaks founder freed for working against US

'Julian Assange will be freed': WikiLeaks founder freed for working against US

Assange pleaded guilty to one count of espionage and returned to Australia after fighting for decades to be extradited to the United States.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from a British prison and returned to Australia after pleading guilty to a single charge of breaching US espionage laws.

Assange, 52, pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disclose classified US documents, according to a filing in the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

He was released from Belmarsh prison in Britain on Monday and taken to the airport to fly out of the country. Assange will appear in court in the US Pacific territory of Saipan at 9am Wednesday (23:00 GMT Sunday) and face up to 62 months in prison. "Julian Assange is free," WikiLeaks said in a statement posted on X.

He left Belmarsh maximum prison on the morning of June 24 after serving 1,901 days. Released by the High Court in London, he was released in the afternoon at Stansted Airport, where he boarded a plane to leave England.

A video posted by WikiLeaks on X shows Assange, wearing a blue shirt and jeans, signing documents before boarding a private plane.

WikiLeaks said he would return to Australia after the trial, for trial in Saipan.

"Julian is available!!!" his wife Stella wrote in X. Words cannot express how grateful we are to you, yes, you have spent many years working to make this happen. Thank you. Thank you, thank you.

Assange's influence rose when he launched WikiLeaks in 2006, which created an online forum for people to anonymously post classified material such as documents and videos.

The video of the US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed many people, including two journalists, raised the profile of the base and the release of hundreds of thousands of American articles about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2010.

"Believe in those who are able to take responsibility"

WikiLeaks published information from many countries, but during the administration of former US President Donald Trump, the United States decided in 2019 to indict 17 people for violating the Espionage Act. U.S attorneys argued that he worked with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for leaking information to WikiLeaks.

He was released in 2017 after President Barack Obama commuted his sentence.

The accusations sparked outrage, with Assange's supporters arguing that as publisher and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, he should not face charges against government officials who steal, or giving information.

Meanwhile, press freedom advocates view the criminal charges against Assange as a threat to freedom of speech.

"WikiLeaks publishes critical information on government corruption and human rights abuses, and holds those responsible accountable for their actions," WikiLeaks said in a statement citing the plea agreement.

As editor-in-chief, Julian values ​​these principles and the public's right to know. As he returns to Australia, we thank all those who supported us, fought for us, and worked hard for his reign.