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Julian Assange strikes plea deal with US, to walk free

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has left the United Kingdom as he prepares to plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal set to bring a dramatic end to his long-running legal saga and allow him to return to Australia.

Wikileaks said that Assange had left a British prison on Monday (UK time), boarded a plane at Stansted Airport and flown out of the United Kingdom.

Assange is scheduled to appear in the federal court in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific, at 9am on Wednesday (AEST), to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information, the US Justice Department said in a letter filed in court.

Julian Assange boards a flight at London Stansted Airport on Monday, London time.
Julian Assange boards a flight at London Stansted Airport on Monday, London time. CREDIT:TWITTER/WIKILEAKS

In a montage video posted to X by his wife Stella, Assange is seen sitting on a couch in an office, looking over documents dressed in a button-up shirt and blue jeans. The footage then cuts to him walking up the stairs, boarding the plane for his trip to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.

The guilty plea, which must be approved by a judge, brings an abrupt conclusion to a criminal case of international intrigue and to the US government’s years-long pursuit of a publisher whose hugely popular secret-sharing website made him a cause célèbre among many press freedom advocates.

WikiLeaks in 2010 released hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents on Washington’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – the largest security breaches of their kind in US military history – along with swaths of diplomatic cables.


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