Julian Assange has been released from prison in a plea deal with the US

The deal will be finalized in a US court on June 26.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released from prison and has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act. The WikiLeaks account on X, formerly Twitter, has announced his release after being granted bail by the High Court in London. It also tweeted a video that appears to show Assange boarding a plane at Stansted Airport. The WikiLeaks founder and former editor-in-chief is expected to appear in a courtroom in the US Northern Mariana Islands on June 26 in order to finalize his plea deal with the US government.

According to a letter from the US Department of Justice obtained by The Washington Post, Assange is specifically pleading guilty to "conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information relating to the national defense of the United States." He will also be returning to Australia, his country of citizenship, right after the proceedings. CBS News reports that Justice Department prosecutors recommended a sentence of 62 months, and seeing as Assange already spent more than five years in a UK prison, he won't be spending any time behind bars in the US.

Assange was the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks when the website published US classified information, obtained by whistleblower and former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning, about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2010, Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual assault by two women. Swedish authorities dropped their investigation into the rape allegations in 2017.

Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after losing his appeal against the warrant, and he lived there for seven years until he was evicted. Lenín Moreno, the president of Ecuador at the time, explained that his asylum was "unsustainable and no longer viable" because he displayed "discourteous and aggressive behavior." London's Metropolitan Police Service removed Assange from the embassy and arrested him on behalf of the US under an extradition warrant.

In WikiLeaks' announcement of his release, it said Assange left Belmarsh maximum security prison "after having spent 1,901 days there." The organization said that the "global campaign" by "press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum" enabled "a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice" that led to the plea deal.