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Julian Assange Freed After US Plea Deal

After a lengthy legal battle, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was released from UK prison following a plea deal with US authorities. Assange will return to Australia and will not serve additional time in the US. The plea deal will be finalized in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth, on June 26.
After a lengthy legal battle, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has left the UK following a plea deal with US authorities.

Assange, 52, faced charges for conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, stemming from WikiLeaks releases that exposed sensitive details about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He had been imprisoned in the UK for five years, resisting extradition to the US.

As part of the deal, he will plead guilty to one charge but will not serve additional time in US custody, gaining credit for time spent incarcerated in the UK.

Assange has returned to Australia.

His release from Belmarsh prison in London on Monday concluded after 1,901 days, and he departed from Stansted airport.

Video shared online by WikiLeaks showed Assange being driven to the airport before boarding a plane.

His wife, Stella Assange, expressed gratitude on social media.

The plea deal is expected to be finalized in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth, on June 26.

This Pacific location is geographically closer to Australia than US federal courts.

His attorney, Richard Miller, has not commented on the case.

The US originally pursued 18 charges against Assange, primarily under the Espionage Act, but these will be reduced under the deal.

US President Joe Biden had earlier considered Australia's request to cease the prosecution.

In May, the UK High Court enabled Assange to appeal against extradition, raising concerns about his rights and trial fairness.

WikiLeaks published over 10 million documents since its founding in 2006, which the US government labeled as one of the largest classified information breaches.

In 2010, the platform released a video showing US military actions that resulted in civilian deaths in Baghdad.

Assange also had allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, eventually dropped in 2019 due to the elapsed time.

He remained in Ecuador's London embassy for seven years, fearing extradition.

His recent years have been marked by poor health, including a minor stroke in 2021.

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