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“Julian Is Free!” Assange Released After ‘Time Served’ Plea Deal With DOJ, Departs For Home

WikiLeaks has released its first footage showing Julian Assange as a free man, emerging from Belmarsh prison looking triumphant and joyous, and soon after boarding a plane to his native Australia…

Below is the official statement from WikiLeaks:

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. After more than five years in a 2×3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars.

WikiLeaks published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding the powerful accountable for their actions. As editor-in-chief, Julian paid severely for these principles, and for the people’s right to know. As he returns to Australia, we thank all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom. Julian’s freedom is our freedom.

Below is a video statement from his wife, Stella Assange:

In a shocking turn of events, Julian Assange will plead guilty to leaking US national security secrets and return to his native Australia, under a deal with Biden’s DoJ that ends a nearly 15-year battle nightmare for the WikiLeaks founder.

After spending more than a decade holed up and imprisoned in London – mainly to avoid being sent to the US – Assange, 52, is expected to be sentenced to time served (62 months in a Belmarsh prison – a high security facility in South-East London) during a court appearance Wednesday in Saipan, in the US Northern Mariana Islands, avoiding a potentially lengthy sentence in an American prison.

Prosecutors had been in talks with Assange to resolve the 2019 case, The Wall Street Journal reported in March, with one sticking point being Assange’s desire to never set foot in the United States.

To enter a felony plea, defendants generally have to show up in person in court. 

Assange’s team had floated the possibility of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, the Journal reported, which would mean Assange could enter the plea remotely.

The Justice Department and Assange’s legal team reached a compromise under which Assange wouldn’t have to travel to suburban Virginia, where the original case is filed, and prosecutors could still get a felony plea, the people said.  

As The FT reports, the agreement aims to resolve what has been a remarkable stand-off between the DoJ and Assange, who has become one of the world’s most controversial advocates for government transparency and whose legal troubles have spanned multiple countries. 

The plea deal also offers a neat solution to what was becoming an increasing political headache for the U.S. government. 

Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he hoped the U.S. could find a way to conclude the case against Assange, and lawmakers there passed a motion calling for Assange to be allowed to return to his native home. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also weighed in, saying that the British courts should not extradite Assange to the U.S. In February, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Alice Jill Edwards, said Assange shouldn’t be extradited to the U.S. to face trial, saying he suffered from “depressive disorder” and was at risk of being placed in solitary confinement.

Finally, while this is excellent news for Assange and his family – and journalistic freedom everywhere – we can’t help but wonder if this outstanding result would have occurred were it not for Biden heading into the first debate with Trump with his poll numbers in the toilet…

Who cares! They are; and Julian is free…

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Zerohedge

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