Historic: Julian Assange regains his freedom | WikiLeaks founder reaches plea deal with US

Historic: Julian Assange regains his freedom | WikiLeaks founder reaches plea deal with US
Historic: Julian Assange regains his freedom | WikiLeaks founder reaches plea deal with US

Julian Assange is a free man. He boarded a plane and left the UK without handcuffs and police custody. The founder of WikiLeaks reached a plea agreement with the United States justice system which allows him to be free after five years of suffering in a maximum security British prison. Pursued by US authorities for revealing thousands of confidential documents, Assange must now appear in federal court in the Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific, where he will plead guilty to “conspiracy to obtain and disclose information relating to national defense.” The chief editor of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnssonadvanced to Page 12 that Then Assange will travel to Australia to reunite with his family.

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1805391265489731716

The scoop was revealed by WikiLeaks through his account on the social network bail and was released from Stansted Airport in the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.” The statement adds that “After spending more than five years in a 2×3 meter cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon be reunited with his wife Stella Assange and their children.who only knew their father behind bars.

According to the agreement reached with the Department of Justice, Assange52 years old and Australian national, will plead guilty to a single count of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified informationThis guilty plea will be made by Assange himself in an appearance scheduled for Wednesday at nine local time in a court in the Mariana Islands, according to a letter from the Department of Justice presented to the court.

The hearing is being held there due to Assange’s opposition to traveling to the continental United States and the court’s proximity to Australia. According to the court agreement, Assange will only be sentenced to 62 months in prison, equivalent to the time he spent behind bars in Belmarsh. The defense of the founder of WikiLeaks did not give further details of the arrangement to respect the confidentiality agreement with justice. Until Monday, Assange was detained in the United Kingdom waiting for an extradition request from the United States to be resolved.

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1805390138945528183

The agreement with the Department of Justice is not unexpected. The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, had asked the United States on several occasions to conclude the case. In April, US President Joe Biden said he was considering it. Organizations that defend freedom of the press have been calling for Assange’s release for years and his wife, Stella, led a campaign in his defense in which several famous people and politicians participated.

https://twitter.com/AitorxMartinez/status/1805386424365334964

The man who made the powerful tremble

Assange created a non-profit media outlet called WikiLeaks in 2006. There he published more than 10 million classified documents provided by anonymous sources. The United States suddenly found itself with a medium that revealed the darkest secrets leaked from the Pentagon about its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and its management of the Guantanamo prison, as well as confidential correspondence from the government and its embassies around the world.

In 2010 Assange was designated by the magazine’s readers time as character of the year and the weekly Newsweek He defined him in 2012 as one of the most revolutionary characters. Precisely in 2010, when WikiLeaks reached its greatest popularity with its explosive leaks, Sweden demanded the arrest of Assange for two accusations, one for the rape of a woman and another for sexual harassment, during a visit to Stockholm to give a conference. Those charges would eventually be dropped.

Assange denied the veracity of both accusations, but had to undergo house arrest in the English rural home of a friend and colleague, until in May 2012 the High Court in London agreed to his extradition to Sweden. In June, given the harassment to which he was being subjected and to avoid his extradition, Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he spent seven years during Rafael Correa’s government..

With the arrival to power of Lenin Moreno, Ecuador stopped granting asylum to Assange. He was detained by British authorities on April 11, 2019. In September 2021, a Yahoo News investigation reported that the CIA planned to kidnap or even kill Assange at the embassy. That complaint was confirmed Page 12 by Kristinn Hrafnsson, who maintained that “the Yahoo News investigation was not denied by anyone and was even confirmed by former CIA director Mike Pompeo.”

On May 23, 2019, the US justice system, which had already accused him of “computer hacking”, charged him with another 17 charges under anti-espionage laws. Assange faced up to 175 years in prison. On February 24, 2020, British justice began to examine the US extradition request, which was postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic. Assange’s wife, lawyer Stella Morris, warned that handing him over to the United States would lead to a “death penalty.”

On January 4, 2021, British judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the US request, considering that the conditions of imprisonment in that country could lead to a risk of suicide. The British justice decided to keep him behind bars. In December of that year, the High Court of London annulled the rejection of extradition, considering that the United States had provided guarantees about the treatment that would be provided to the founder of WikiLeaks.

On March 26 of this year, British judges asked American authorities to guarantee that Assange could benefit from the First Amendment of the Constitution, which protects freedom of expression, and that he would not be sentenced to the death penalty. But the guarantees presented by the United States on the first point failed to convince the judges of the London High Court.

On July 9 and 10, Assange’s appeal against his extradition to the United States was expected to be examined, but the agreement known in the last hours put an end to a stormy novel that lasted almost 14 years. Assange defended at all times that the information revealed in 2010 served to publicize war crimes committed by the United States.

At different stages of the trial, Assange’s relatives warned about the deterioration of his health. A year and a half ago Hrafnsson admitted to this newspaper: “Belmarsh is a horrible place for a person of Julian’s caliber and for anyone. He is losing weight and I fear for his life. It is a horrible pressure.” Her defense also tired of warning in the different hearings about a risk of suicide in the event of extradition.

 
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