Julian Assange is Free, Agreement Reached with USA

Wikileaks founder will leave Great Britain and could return to Australia after five years in prison

After five years in Belmarsh Prison in London, Julian Assange is now free in Great Britain following a plea deal with the United States.

The 52-year-old Australian pleads guilty to one charge and will be sentenced to 62 months in prison on it, which he has already served in full. Assange, born Julian Paul Hawkins, left Great Britain on June 24. He was accused of publishing 700,000 confidential documents related to US military and diplomatic activities since 2010.

“Julian Assange is free,” reads the Wikileaks account on the X network. “He left the high-security Belmarsh prison on the morning of June 24, after spending 1901 days there. London’s High Court released him on bail in the afternoon at Stansted Airport, where he boarded a plane to leave the UK. This is the result of a worldwide campaign that involved grassroots activists, press freedom activists, legislators, and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way up to the UN. This set the stage for lengthy negotiations with the US Department of Justice, which led to a formal agreement, the implementation of which has not yet been finalized (…). After more than five years in a 2.5-meter-high cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon be reunited with his wife Stella Assange and children, who have only seen their father from behind bars.”

Some saw Assange as a champion of free journalism and free speech, while others saw him as a hacker who irresponsibly distributed classified data, endangering the lives of many.

According to the site representatives, “WikiLeaks has published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding those in power accountable for their actions. As its editor-in-chief, Julian has paid dearly for those principles and for people’s right to information.”

There were 18 charges against Assange. He was facing up to 175 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Now he will stand trial in the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean, presumably Wednesday morning. The final green light to implement the agreement now requires a federal judge’s approval.