ikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released from Belmarsh Prison in London on June 24th after striking a plea deal with US authorities. As part of the agreement, Assange would plead guilty to a single felony charge of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified national defence information. With the time already served in UK prisons factored in, Assange received a sentence of time served and was not required to spend any more time incarcerated in the UK or the US.

A notice from US department of Justic
The Assange Plea Deal

A Long Road to Justice

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been embroiled in a complex legal battle that stretched across several countries for over a decade. In 2010, Assange was accused of sexual assault charges in Sweden which he denied. Facing extradition to Sweden, Assange sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy where he remained for nearly 7 years. During this time, WikiLeaks published classified US military documents and diplomatic cables which outraged the American government. In 2019, Assange was forcibly removed from the embassy and arrested by London police for breaching his bail conditions related to the Swedish case. He was subsequently sentenced to 50 weeks in prison. 

US Charges and Extradition Fight  

The US then charged Assange with espionage and hacking-related crimes under the Espionage Act for his role in WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents. Facing up to 175 years in prison, Assange battled his extradition to the US from UK prisons. Over the next few years, his legal team launched appeals in British courts challenging the extradition arguing it threatened press freedoms. In 2021, the UK courts ruled in favour of extraditing Assange to the US to stand trial but the decision was appealed further.

A Deal is Struck

After spending over 1,900 days behind bars in London's Belmarsh Prison, a breakthrough was finally achieved. On June 24th 2024, WikiLeaks announced that Assange had been released from prison after striking a last-minute plea deal with US authorities. As part of the agreement, Assange pleaded guilty to one count of computer misuse in a US court in the remote Pacific island of Saipan on June 26th 2024. With time already served in UK prisons being counted, the judge sentenced Assange to no additional jail time. Finally free, Assange could depart the UK and board a flight back to his native Australia to reunite with his family after over a decade.

Similar Articles

Show More