WikiLeaks founder Assange leaves UK after plea deal

Author: Stefania Palma in Washington Source: Financial Times
June 25, 2024 at 08:11
©  WikiLeaks
© WikiLeaks

Agreement set to end long-running legal saga over one of biggest releases of classified materials in US history

Julian Assange has left the UK after striking a plea deal with US prosecutors to end the WikiLeaks founder’s legal saga over leaked documents and allow him to walk free after years of incarceration and confinement.

WikiLeaks said on X on Tuesday that Assange had been released from Belmarsh, a high-security prison in London, and had already flown out of the UK after being granted bail.

According to court filings, Assange has agreed with the US Department of Justice to plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate classified information linked to US national defence.

The deal with the DoJ “has not yet been formally finalised”, WikiLeaks said, adding that more information would be provided as Assange “returns to Australia”.

The case involves what prosecutors have described as one of the biggest leaks of classified material in US history. Washington has long maintained that intelligence agents’ lives were put at risk because of the information disclosure — a claim Assange’s lawyers have disputed.

“Julian Assange is free,” WikiLeaks said, adding that he had “paid severely” for publishing stories of “government corruption and human rights abuses”.

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