Julian Assange Is a Free Man

(UnitedVoice.com) – Julian Assange’s legal drama has spanned many years. The Department of Justice indicted the Wikileaks founder on multiple felonies for his alleged participation in a massive intelligence leak. Assange reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors and is now free.

On June 24, Assange agreed to plead guilty to a single felony count of illegally obtaining and disclosing national security material. Two days later, he appeared in a courtroom in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean. The Wikileaks founder appeared with his attorney, Jennifer Robinson, and the Australian Ambassador to the US, Kevin Rudd.

Assange pleaded guilty to the charge related to the 2010 intelligence leak involving Chelsea Manning. The former US soldier turned whistleblower handed over thousands of classified documents related to America’s War on Terror and its diplomatic wires. US prosecutors accused Assange of also helping Manning obtain the records.

The agreement Assange reached with prosecutors allowed him to return to Australia. That’s exactly what he did a few hours after his court hearing. Assange landed in his home country’s capital, Canberra, just before 8 p.m. on June 26. He is now free after being in custody of British authorities for more than five years as the US fought to extradite and prosecute him.

According to The New York Times, Assange’s defense team said that during the negotiations with the Department of Justice, he refused to fly to the US mainland to appear in court. He was also not allowed to fly commercially, so he had to take a private jet back home to Australia.

Stella, who is both Assange’s wife and one of his attorneys, started a fundraiser to help raise the $520,000 needed to cover the cost of the flight. The Assanges will have to reimburse the Australian government for the arrangements. At a press conference, she said her husband didn’t want to speak to the press yet, he needs time to adjust. “Freedom comes slowly,” she explained.

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