June 24, 2024
WASHINGTON/SYDNEY, June 24 (Reuters) РWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is due to plead guilty this week to violating U.S. espionage law, in a deal that will end his imprisonment in Britain and allow him to return home to Australia, ending a long legal odyssey.
Assange, 52, has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. national defense documents, according to filings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.
Assange is due to be sentenced to 62 months of time already served at a hearing on the island of Saipan at 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2300GMT Tuesday).
Assange left Belmarsh prison in the UK on Monday before being bailed by the UK High Court and boarding a flight that afternoon, Wikileaks said in a statement posted on social media platform X.
“This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations,” the statement said.
A video posted on X by Wikileaks showed Assange dressed in a blue shirt and jeans signing a document before boarding a private jet.
He will return to Australia after the hearing, the Wikileaks statement added, referring to the hearing in Saipan.
Australia’s government, which has been pressing for Assange’s release, had no immediate comment.
A lawyer for Assange did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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