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World News June 26, 2024

WikiLeaks founder Assange pleads guilty in U.S. deal to secure freedom

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, pleaded guilty to one count of violating U.S. espionage law in a courtroom in Saipan, a U.S. Pacific territory, as part of a deal with prosecutors. Assange, who appeared in a black suit and was accompanied by his legal team and Australian Ambassador Kevin Rudd, is expected to be released if the court approves his plea. The courtroom was crowded with media, though they were barred from entering.

Assange’s guilty plea relates to conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. national defense documents. The venue in Saipan was chosen to accommodate Assange’s opposition to traveling to the mainland U.S. and its proximity to Australia. He is set to be sentenced to time already served, around 62 months, which covers his time in British custody and in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Supporters of Assange view him as a whistleblower who exposed U.S. military misconduct, while the U.S. argues that his actions endangered lives. The Australian government has consistently advocated for Assange’s release, emphasizing that his prolonged detention without resolution is unacceptable. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles affirmed that his release would not harm Australia-U.S. relations.

Source – CGTN

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