Julian Assange is free: Wikileaks founder returns to Australia after U.S. plea deal

Julian Assange is free: Wikileaks founder returns to Australia after U.S. plea deal

JULIAN Assange walked out of prison as a free man for the first time since he was granted political asylum by Ecuador on the grounds of political persecution in 2012 before being dragged from the embassy by the UK police seven years later.

He stayed at the Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison in London for the past five years.

The embattled WikiLeaks founder left the United Kingdom on Monday after striking a plea deal with the United States last week.

After a short layover at Bangkok airport, Assange is now on his way to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands.

He will attend a hearing in the Northern Mariana Islands’ capital of Saipan on Wednesday where he is expected to plead guilty to one felony charge under the US Espionage Act before he can return home to Australia, his home country.

The WikiLeaks founder could return to Australia if the judge approves his guilty plea.

Assange was originally facing more than 18 charges related to the release of classified documents that portrayed alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan that showed civilians being killed.

The said charges could have landed him up to 175 years in prison if convicted.

 

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