United States

‘Julian Assange Is Free’: Wife Reacts After Wikileaks Founder Strikes Plea Deal With US For His Release

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has walked free out of prison after striking plea deal with US.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange | Photo: AP

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday walked free out of prison after he agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the US Justice Department.

Assange, who had been in custody in UK, will plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defense information, reports said.

Assange appeared in the federal court in the Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific, to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge, AP reported.

WikiLeaks reported early Tuesday morning UK time that "Julian Assange is free" and had left the country. He is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning local time in the US territory.

The deal will end Assange’s imprisonment in UK. It will also allow Assange to return home to Australia, ending a long-running legal saga that spanned multiple continents and centered on the publication of a trove of classified documents.

According to the deal, the WikiLeaks founder will be spared from any additional prison time.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange’s wife Stella Assange has expressed delight over the release of her husband.

Taking to micro-blogging site—X, she said, “Julian is free!!!! Words cannot express our immense gratitude to YOU- yes YOU, who have all mobilised for years and years to make this come true. THANK YOU. tHANK YOU. THANK YOU.”

Meanwhile, plane thought to be carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on his way to enter a plea deal in US court, lands in Bangkok, reported AP.

Who is Julian Assange?

Assange made headlines in 2016 after his website published Democratic emails that prosecutors say were stolen by Russian intelligence operatives.

As teenager Assange was fascinated with computers. Over the years, he gained a reputation as a computer programmer while growing up at his native Townsville, Australia.

He founded WikiLeaks in 2006, creating an internet-based "dead letter drop" for leakers of classified or sensitive information.

In 2010, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents on America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 7,00,000 documents included diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts, such as a 2007 video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people. Following this, Assange was indicted.

Assange was arrested in October 2010 in UK on a European arrest warrant after Swedish authorities said they wanted to question him over a sex crime, but he was freed on bail. Following this, Assange fled to Ecuador's embassy, where he remained for seven years, to avoid extradition to Sweden.

In 2019, Assange was dragged out of Ecuador's embassy and jailed for skipping bail. Since then, he has been in London's Belmarsh top-security jail, where he has been fighting extradition to the United States.