“Julian’s freedom is our freedom”: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walks free

“Julian’s freedom is our freedom”: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walks free
Image: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on his way home to Australia. Picture: Wikileaks/AFP

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has walked free after five years in UK prison as part of a plea deal reached with the US Justice Department.

Assange will plead guilty to a single felony charge under the US Espionage Act of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information.

In return for the plea, prosecutors will only seek a 62-month sentence, the time Assange has already served in a high-security prison.

“Prime Minister Albanese has been clear – Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and there is nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration,” a government spokesperson said.

The 52-year-old is expected to appear before a US Federal Court on Wednesday in Saipan, a self-governing US territory located in the western Pacific.

Though there are still further steps to be taken before Assange’s freedom is assured, the news of his walking free from prison has been widely welcomed.

Responses to Assange’s release

In a statement released on X, formerly Twitter, WikiLeaks said, “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,” the statement continues.
“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.”

Greens Senator and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said, “I along with millions of Australians are looking forward to welcoming Julian back home where he belongs with his family and his friends.”

“To Julian who told the truth and did it knowing he would face a global attack, we are immensely grateful,” he continued.

In 2010, WikiLeaks 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.

Senator Shoebridge said Assange “should never have been charged with espionage in the first place or had to make this deal.”

“Julian Assange has spent years in jail for the crime of showing the world the horrors of the US war in Iraq and the complicity of governments like Australia and that is why he has been punished,” he said.

Assange’s wife, Stella, thanked his supporters for advocating for his release.

“Throughout the years of Julian’s imprisonment and persecution, an incredible movement has been formed,” she said.
“People from all walks of life from around the world who support not just Julian… but what Julian stands for: truth and justice.”

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