Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder leaves UK following US plea deal

Julian Assange. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

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IBNS-CMEDIA: Ending the legal saga, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has finally left the UK after he reached a deal with the US authorities that will enable him to plead guilty to criminal charges and go free.

Assange, 52, was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information, reported BBC.

Assange has spent the last five years in a British prison.

He was fighting extradition to the USA.

In an X post, WikiLeaks said: “Julian Assange is free. He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 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.”

“This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations. This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalised. We will provide more information as soon as possible,” the organization said.

WikiLeaks said Assange will soon return to Australia.

WikiLeaks shared a video on its X platform which showed Assange being driven to the Stansted before boarding an aircraft.

His wife Stella wrote her husband is free and further said: ” Julian is free!!!! Words cannot express our immense gratitude to YOU- yes YOU, who have all mobilised for years and years to make this come true. THANK YOU. tHANK YOU. THANK YOU.”

Assange, detained first in prison then under house arrest, took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012 after losing his appeal to the UK Supreme Court against extradition to Sweden, where a judicial investigation was initiated against him in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct. However, he was not formally charged.

Assange’s WikiLeaks site published confidential diplomatic information, and he has been detained since 2010.