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World

Assange will be ‘a free man’ after US court appearance: wife

todayJune 25, 2024 10

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be a “free man” after a US judge signs off on his landmark plea deal expected to take place in remote US territory on Wednesday, his wife Stella said.

Stella Assange said the end of his years-long legal drama that saw him board a plane from London to Bangkok on Monday had been a “whirlwind of emotions”.

“I’m just elated. Frankly, it’s just incredible,” she told BBC radio.

“We weren’t really sure until the last 24 hours that it was actually happening.”

Assange was on Monday freed on bail from a high-security prison in southeast London.

He had been held there for five years as he fought extradition to the United States which sought to prosecute him for revealing military secrets.

He has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defence information, according to a document filed in court in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific where the hearing is expected to take place.

Assange said the plea deal involved her husband pleading guilty to the single charge.

“The charge concerns the Espionage Act and obtaining and disclosing national defence information,” she said.

“The important thing here is that the deal involved time served that if he signed it, he would be able to walk free,” she added.

A charter plane flew the 52-year-old Australian publisher from London to Bangkok, where it made a scheduled stop to refuel.

From there it is set to fly to Saipan, the capital of the US territory where Assange is due in court on Wednesday morning.

“What there is, is an agreement in principle between Julian and the Department of Justice, and that has to be signed off by a judge in these Northern Mariana territories… in the Pacific Ocean where he is going to be headed,” she said.

“He will be a free man once it has been signed off… and that will happen some time tomorrow.”

Stella Assange told Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency that her husband was paying $500,000 (£390,000) for the flight taking him from London to Australia.

har/phz/ach

AFP

(NAMPA / AFP)

 

Written by: Staff Writer

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