WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Released from London Jail After Plea Deal with US Authorities

Isaac Oshokha
By Isaac Oshokha Add a Comment
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Wikileaks Founder Julian AssangeWikileaks Founder Julian Assange

The controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released from a London prison on Monday, after more than five years in detention. Under a plea agreement with the United States, Assange agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and publish U.S. national defence secrets. Prosecutors’ filings to the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands indicate that the transaction was closed on June 24. Assange will not be extradited to the United States, where he faced several charges, under this deal.

“Julian Assange is free,” WikiLeaks announced on its X account. “He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 days there. He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at the Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK”

After the hearing, Jennifer Robinson, one of Assange’s lawyers told reporters that the case “sets a dangerous precedent that should be a concern to journalists everywhere.”

“It’s a huge relief to Julian Assange, to his family, to his friends, to his supporters and to us — to everyone who believes in free speech around the world — that he can now return home to Australia and be reunited with his family,” she said.

Assange’s freedom marks a significant development in a case that has attracted global attention and sparked heated debates about press freedom, whistleblowing, and national security. His release from Belmarsh Prison, a high-security facility in London, was met with mixed reactions. Supporters celebrated his release as a victory for free speech, while critics expressed concerns about the implications of his actions and the potential consequences for national security.

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange
Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

Julian Assange’s road to release has been lengthy and complex. Arrested in April 2019 following forced removal from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge for almost seven years, Assange has spent much of the last five years in jail. While stationed at the embassy, Julian continued running WikiLeaks, the business he launched in 2006, which was known for publishing confidential documents from anonymous sources. 

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Regarding Assange’s legal battle, the plea agreement represents a turning point. Assange avoids U.S. trial on several other accusations, including espionage, by pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge. Many have noted this outcome as a reasonable compromise between the intricacy of international law and diplomatic matters and the need for justice.

The case has had far-reaching consequences beyond Assange himself. It has begged important issues about the boundaries of press freedom and the part whistleblowers and reporters play in revealing government secrets. WikiLeaks has been at the centre of many high-profile leaks, including the release of U.S. military logs from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic cables that revealed candid assessments by American officials of foreign leaders.

Another major issue throughout Assange’s detention has been his health and welfare. Reports of his failing mental and physical state attracted demands for his release from several human rights groups. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, described Assange’s treatment as tantamount to psychological torture, adding to the urgency of resolving his legal status.

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Released: Future Implications 

The plea deal and Assange’s subsequent release do not represent the end of the controversies over WikiLeaks and its founder. Although Assange is now free from prison, more general concerns regarding WikiLeaks’s place in the digital era still exist. Sensitive material published by the company has had significant impact on cybersecurity, media, and world politics.

According to The Bit Journal, Assange’s release might also affect the broader crypto market. Previously endorsing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as means of preserving security and privacy in the digital sphere, Julian Assange’s participation in these fields, together with the continuous discussions on control and regulation of digital currency, could affect WikiLeaks’s future course as well as the general conversation on digital privacy.


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