July 21, 2024

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WikiLeaks founder Assange has been released from a British prison after making a deal with the US

WikiLeaks founder Assange has been released from a British prison after making a deal with the US

Assange boards a plane in the United Kingdom

NOS newsEdited

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears to have been acquitted unexpectedly. Assange was released from the UK prison yesterday morning and has now landed in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

A deal appears to have been struck on his release: according to court documents, Assange will appear before a judge in the Northern Mariana Islands today at 1pm (Dutch time). The archipelago is a territory of the United States and is located in the Pacific Ocean, about a five-hour flight from its home country of Australia.

The deal states that Assange will plead guilty to one of eighteen counts of espionage brought against him by the US justice system. In return, he could return to Australia, according to court documents seen by news outlets such as Reuters and the AP. The agreement still needs to be formally ratified.

Assange has already spent five years in a high-security British prison as he fought to avoid extradition to the United States. If the deal is approved, he will be released immediately.

These short images show Assange boarding a plane in England without handcuffs:

Assange boarded a plane in England without handcuffs

Assange faces up to 175 years in prison in the United States. In 2010, an Australian site published a video of US helicopter pilots shooting down unarmed civilians in Iraq. The site also published the contents of hundreds of thousands of classified official messages from US diplomatic missions around the world.

  • AFP

    Assange a British newspaper after revealing 92,000 classified documents (2010).
  • AFP

    A searchable page on the Interpol website showing Assange’s profile (2010)
  • EPA

    Julian Assange reads a statement from the balcony of the embassy in Ecuador in 2012
  • AFP

    Assange in 2019, shortly before his appearance in a London court

In a statement on X, WikiLeaks confirmed the release of their founder. “Julian Assange is free” was written on the platform. “As he returns to Australia, we thank all those who supported us, fought for us and remain committed to his fight for freedom.”

Julian Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, who has been campaigning for his release for years, said in a statement yesterday. Recorded video His time visiting Assange in prison “is coming to an end”. “I think Julian will be free by this time next week.” WikiLeaks representative Kristinn Hrafnsson also says in the same video that she is optimistic and that “things are moving very quickly now.”

Australia: ‘Case dragged on for too long’

Australia has been trying for some time to convince the US to drop the case against Assange. In April, US President Biden announced that he was considering withdrawing the case against Assange. In late March, a British court ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the United States unless the United States gave good guarantees about his treatment.

In an initial response, Australian Prime Minister Albanese said Assange boarded the plane with the Australian ambassador. He adds that Assange should be brought home as soon as possible.

Earlier tonight, a government spokesman said it was “aware that legal proceedings are planned against Mr. Julian Assange in the United States.”

“As those proceedings are ongoing, it is not appropriate to comment further.” The government also claims that Prime Minister Albanese has always been clear. “Mr Assange’s case has dragged on far too long and nothing will be gained by his continued imprisonment.”