Julian Assange Reaches Agreement with US Justice and Is Released from Prison

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, left Belmarsh prison on Monday morning after reaching an agreement with US authorities. According to publicly known court documents released Monday night, Assange has agreed to plead guilty to “conspiracy to obtain and disclose information related to national defense,” and will be released after years of detention in the UK.

Assange, pursued by US authorities for releasing hundreds of thousands of confidential documents, is expected to appear before a federal court in the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific, where he will enter his guilty plea.

“Julian Assange is now free,” WikiLeaks announced, confirming his departure from the high-security prison in London where he had been held for five years. He subsequently left the UK on Monday afternoon after taking a flight from Stansted Airport.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, marking the largest security breach in US military history, along with diplomatic cables.

Assange faced charges during the Trump administration for the mass publication of US secret documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former US military intelligence analyst, who was also prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

The charges against Assange sparked global outcry from his supporters, who argue that as WikiLeaks’ editor, he should not face charges typically applied to federal government employees who steal or leak information.

Many press freedom advocates have argued that criminally charging Assange poses a threat to freedom of speech.

Assange was first arrested in the UK in 2010 under a European Arrest Warrant, after Swedish authorities sought to question him over sexual assault allegations that were later dropped. He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he remained for seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden.

In 2019, he was forcefully removed from the embassy and imprisoned for violating bail conditions. Since then, he has been held at London’s Belmarsh maximum-security prison, fighting extradition to the United States for nearly five years.

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Ignacio Teson
Ignacio Teson
Economist and Financial Analyst
Ignacio Teson is an Economist and Financial Analyst. He has more than 7 years of experience in emerging markets. He worked as an analyst and market operator at brokerage firms in Argentina and Spain.
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