Julian Assange leaves UK after being freed in US plea deal

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has left the UK after agreeing a US plea deal that will see him plead guilty to criminal charges and go free, the BBC reports.

Assange was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information.

He spent the last five years in a British prison, from where he was fighting extradition to the US.

Assange will spend no time in US custody and will receive credit for the time spent incarcerated in the UK.

The plea deal is expected to be finalized in a court in the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday.

He is expected to return to Australia according to the US justice department.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said Assange is receiving diplomatic assistance ahead of his court appearance.

What are the US charges against Julian Assange?

Julian Assange has agreed to plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information.

For years, the US government argued that the Wikileaks files – which disclosed information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – endangered lives.

He was indicted in the US during the Trump administration and prosecutors originally wanted to try him on 18 counts.

Most of these were under the 1917 Espionage Act, which broadly criminalizes the mishandling of government records “relating to the national defense” of the US.

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