Assange Returns a Free Man 

Julian Assange is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist whose decade-long legal saga began with the development of WikiLeaks- a non-profit media organisation and publisher of leaked documents, which has published classified documents provided through anonymous sources. The company was co-founded by Assange in 2006.On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks posted a video entailing a US military helicopter firing on and subsequently killing two journalists and several Iraqi civilians in 2007. For the next year, WikiLeaks would continue to publish more than a quarter of a million posts about the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars as well as US Diplomatic Cables.  


On 23 May 2019 the US Government indicted Assange on 18 charges under the Espionage Act 1917, which accused him of conspiring with American former Army Intelligence Analyst, Chelsea Manning. On December 2021 the British High Court ruled for Assange’s extradition to the US under humane conditions, and in May 2022 the country’s Supreme Court denied permission for Assange to appeal his extradition. In May 2023, Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese supported a motion in parliament for Assange’s release, expressing that “nothing is served” by his incarceration.  


Last February Assange’s lawyers launched a final legal bid to prohibit his extradition to the US, and last month the High Court ruled that Assange could appeal his extradition on arguments about his disadvantage of not being a US Citizen and whether he will receive free-speech protections.  On 24 June 2024, Assange reached a plea deal with the US Justice Department. Two days later, Assange faced court in Saipan and pleaded guilty to one charge of espionage conspiring to unlawfully disseminate classified national defence information. He was sentenced to 62 months in prison, which credited his time already served in Belmarsh prison- pronouncing him a “free man”. 

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