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Julian Assange Returns to Australia After 12 Years of Legal Battles

Julian Assange has been released from a British prison and is returning to Australia after a long legal battle over his extradition to the United States. Assange spent five years in a maximum-security prison in London and nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London before his release.

Julian Assange Returns to Australia After 12 Years of Legal Battles

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Julian Assange’s legal battles have spanned over 12 years, during which he faced charges related to the publication of classified U.S. military documents.

He has now struck a plea deal with U.S. authorities that allows him to avoid imprisonment in the U.S.

Julian Assange agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge involving his role in the disclosure of classified information.

The U.S. Department of Justice will seek a 62-month sentence, which corresponds to the time he has already served in the UK.

This plea deal allows Assange to return to Australia after a court appearance in Saipan, a U.S. territory in the Pacific.

WikiLeaks published classified information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which the US government claimed endangered lives.

He also faced allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden, which he denied. The charges were eventually dropped in 2019 due to the passage of time.

Julian Assange fought extradition to the US from a British prison for five years. Prior to his arrest in the UK, he spent seven years in Ecuador’s London embassy avoiding extradition to Sweden.

The UK High Court ruled that Julian Assange could appeal against his extradition, challenging US assurances about his trial and free speech rights.

Julian Assange has agreed to plead guilty to one charge under the Espionage Act, as part of a deal with the US Department of Justice.

The plea agreement stipulates that Julian Assange will not serve additional time in US custody, as he has already served 1,901 days in the UK’s Belmarsh prison. He left the UK for Australia, where he will reside following his release.

His wife, Stella Assange expressed relief and gratitude to supporters. She addressed the need for Assange to recover and spend time with his family.

The Australian government welcomed his release. The plea deal is expected to be finalized in the Northern Mariana Islands, a remote US territory closer to Australia than the US mainland.

Julian Assange is seen by some as a champion of free speech and by others as a threat to national security.

WikiLeaks is infamous for publishing a video showing the killing of Iraqi civilians by a US helicopter and for releasing numerous classified documents.

Julian Assange faced 18 counts in the US related to the publication of classified information.

Julian Assange will enter his guilty plea in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands, to avoid traveling to the continental U.S.

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The hearing and sentencing are scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Saipan, following which Assange will be free to return to Australia.

Julian Assange boarded a flight from London’s Stansted airport accompanied by Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK. The flight made a stop in Bangkok for refueling before heading to Saipan.

Julian Assange faced charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military and government documents.

These publications were supplied by Chelsea Manning and included sensitive information about U.S. military operations.

The U.S. had assured British authorities that Assange would not face the death penalty. If extradited to the U.S., Assange could have faced up to 175 years in prison for 18 charges including espionage.

In 2006, WikiLeaks is founded. In 2010, release of classified documents relating to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2012, Assange seeks asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2019, arrested by British police after Ecuador withdraws his asylum. In 2024, agrees to a plea deal allowing him to return to Australia.

WikiLeaks gained global attention in 2010 with the release of video footage showing a U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq. The organization published thousands of classified documents exposing U.S. military operations and diplomatic communications.

Julian Assange was accused of sexual assault in Sweden in 2010 leading to an international arrest warrant. He denied the allegations and sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition.

Julian Assange lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly seven years under political asylum. During this time, WikiLeaks continued to release sensitive information including emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Over time, Assange’s relationship with Ecuador deteriorated and in 2019, he was expelled from the embassy.

He was arrested by British police on an extradition warrant from the U.S. and spent the next five years in Belmarsh prison.

Assange’s final court appearance is scheduled in the Northern Mariana Islands, where the plea deal will be formally concluded.

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