Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Released From Jail After Striking Plea Deal With US In Espionage Case

(MENAFN- Live Mint) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from a London prison after striking a plea deal with the US Justice Department in nearly 14-year-old espionage case that centered around the publication of a number of classified defense documents, including the wrongdoings in Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and exposing government secrets.

Later this week, Julian Assange is expected to appear in a US federal court in the Mariana Islands on Wednesday and plead guilty to unlawfully obtaining classified national defense information, allowing him to walk free, ending the legal battle, the Justice Department in its filing in court.

Also Read | Assange, Justice Department exploring guilty plea to end 14-year legal drama

After his plea deal with the United States , Julian Assange was taken from Belmarsh prison, where he had spent five years, to London's Stansted airport. The 52-year-old Australian was later seen boarding a flight and flying to an unnamed destination. After his release, Julian Assange will be free to fly back to his native Australia.

What did WikiLeaks say?

In a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter), WikiLeaks said Julian Assange departed the UK after release from jail and boarded a plane, not revealing where he took the flight to. WikiLeaks said it was grateful for“all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom.”

“Julian Assange is free. He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of June 24, after having spent 1,901 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,” WikiLeaks said.

Also Read | U.K. court delays decision on Julian Assange's extradition to U.S.

It said,“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.”

Following the publication of secret documents in 2010, Julian Assange was heralded by many as an advocate of free speech until he was accused of sexual molestation.

US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who had aided Julian Assange in possessing the secret documents, was sentenced to 35 years in jail. President Barack Obama later commuted her sentence in 2017, allowing her release after about seven years behind bars.


Live Mint

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