WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to US after reaching plea deal

25 June 2024, 00:51

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reached a plea deal.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reached a plea deal. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is set to plead guilty in a deal with the US authorities and return to Australia, it has been reported.

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Court papers filed by the US Justice Department show Assange is scheduled to appear in federal court to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information, according to the Associated Press,

It followed the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

US authorities have agreed to drop their demand for Assange to be extradited from the UK after reaching a plea deal with the WikiLeaks founder.

In return for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information, Assange will be sentenced to time served, 62 months.

This is the time he's already spent in a British prison. He will then be free to return to Australia, where he was born.

Read more: Julian Assange's wife calls for extradition case against WikiLeaks founder to be abandoned by US after High Court win

Read more: UK would be ‘illegal migration capital of world’ under Labour, Sunak says as he sets out plans to ‘stop the boats’

He is expected to return to his home country of Australia after his plea and sentencing, scheduled for Wednesday morning local time in the Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific.

Assange has been in custody at HMP Belmarsh for more than five years as he fought a lengthy legal battle against his extradition to the United States.

The latest hearing of Assange's appeal was scheduled to take place over two days starting on July 9 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

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