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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returns to Australia a free man

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange waves after touchdown at RAAF air base Fairbairn in Canberra, Australia, on June 26 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returned to his homeland Australia aboard a constitution jet on Wednesday, hours after pleading responsible to acquiring and publishing U.S. army secrets and techniques in a cope with Justice Department prosecutors that concludes a drawn-out authorized saga.

The prison case of worldwide intrigue, which had performed out for years, got here to a shock finish in a most uncommon setting with Mr. Assange, 52, coming into his plea in a U.S. district court docket in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. The American commonwealth within the Pacific is comparatively near Mr. Assange’s native Australia and accommodated his want to keep away from coming into the continental United States.


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Mr. Assange raised his proper fist as he emerged for the airplane and his supporters on the Canberra airport cheered from a distance. Dressed in the identical go well with and tie he wore throughout his earlier court docket look, he embraced his spouse Stella Assange and father John Shipton who have been ready on the tarmac.

He was accompanied on the flights by Australian Ambassador to the United States Kevin Rudd and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Stephen Smith, each of whom performed key roles in negotiating his freedom with London and Washington.

The flights have been paid for by the “Assange team,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles mentioned, including his authorities performed a task in facilitating the transport.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese advised Parliament that Mr. Assange’s freedom, after he spent 5 years in a British jail preventing extradition to the U.S., was the results of his authorities’s “careful, patient and determined work.”

“Over the two years since we took office, my government has engaged and advocated including at leader-level to resolve this. We have used all appropriate channels,” Mr. Albanese said.

Mr. Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson, speaking outside the Saipan court, thanked Mr. Albanese “for his statesmanship, his principled leadership and his diplomacy, which made this outcome possible.”

It is unclear the place Mr. Assange will go from Canberra and what his future plans are. His South African lawyer spouse and mom of his two kids, Stella Assange, has been in Australia for days awaiting her husband’s launch.

Another of Julian Assange’s attorneys, Barry Pollack, anticipated his shopper would proceed vocal campaigning.

“WikiLeaks’s work will continue and Mr. Assange, I have no doubt, will be a continuing force for freedom of speech and transparency in government,” Mr. Pollack advised reporters exterior the Saipan court docket.

Assange’s father John Shipton mentioned forward of his son’s arrival that he hoped the iconoclastic web writer was coming house to the “great beauty of ordinary life.”

“He will be able to spend quality time with his wife, Stella, and his two children, be able to walk up and down the beach and feel the sand through his toes in winter, that lovely chill,” Mr. Shipton advised Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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