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‘Free man’ : WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walks free for after US signed off on his plea deal

“With this pronouncement, it appears that you will be able to walk out of this courtroom a free man,” the judge said

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Shefali Kohli -- June 26th 2024 10:20 AM
‘Free man’ : WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walks free for after US signed off on his plea deal

‘Free man’ : WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walks free for after US signed off on his plea deal

JULIAN ASSANGE IS FREE | WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walked out of the courtroom in Saipan as a free man for the first time in 12 years after a US judge signed off on his plea deal on Wednesday morning. 

Assange exited the courtroom as a free man, stepping into the bright Saipan sunshine. He briefly raised a hand to acknowledge reporters before heading to the airport, where he boarded a flight to Canberra, the Australian capital. 


During the three-hour hearing, Assange pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. national defence documents. However, he argued that he believed his actions were protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which safeguards free speech.

In the court in Sapian, Assange said, "I am, in fact, guilty of the charge." WikiLeaks founder, who has long held a deep mistrust of the US, even accusing it of allegedly planning his assassination, was hesitant about entering the continental US, and so prosecutors requested for all proceedings to take place in a day in a US federal court in Saipan, the largest island and Northern Mariana Islands capital.

“With this pronouncement, it appears that you will be able to walk out of this courtroom a free man,” the judge said on Wednesday.

“I can’t stop crying,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's wife says as he walks out of prison.

 

“Julian Assange Free At Last!!!,” she added.

For years, the US said that Julian Assange endangered lives and posed a threat to national security. Assange and his whistleblower website gained attention in 2010 after a series of leaks from former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The website released a video showing a U.S. military helicopter firing on and killing two journalists and several Iraqi civilians in 2007. A few months later, the website published over 90,000 classified Afghan war documents from as far back as 2004. 

In 2010, Assange was wanted in Sweden to address allegations of sexual assault. In 2012, he sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in west London, where he remained for almost seven years. In 2019, the Metropolitan Police entered the embassy and arrested him, acting on an extradition warrant from the U.S. Justice Department.


- With inputs from agencies

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