‘I am free, I am free’: Julian Assange arrives in Australia after pleading guilty

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange arrived in Australia this Wednesday on a private plane after having formalized the pact for his freedom. before a judge and having pleaded guilty for the leak of classified United States documents, after spending five years imprisoned in the United Kingdom and another almost seven years as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“After nearly 14 years of arbitrary detention in the UK, and 5 years in a maximum security prison for his groundbreaking work, Julian Assange has returned home to Australia,” WikiLeaks said on its X account.

The charter flight VJT199 on which he was traveling landed at Canberra International Airport after about seven hours of flight, after departing from Saipan. Julian Assange got off the plane shortly after landing in a dark suit, white shirt and tie, and with his fist raised he saluted to dozens of media outlets and followers who were waiting and cheering for him at the airport.

The Australian He was greeted on the runway by his wifeStella Assange, whom he kissed and embraced, and by his fatherthe Australian architect John Shipton.

“I am very nervous and excited to see Julian at the airport,” his wife had previously said in an interview with the YouTube channel of Assange Freedom Fight, the Australian activist’s support group.

The WikiLeaks founder met his current wife, who was part of his legal team, during his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, a period in which they had their two sons, Gabriel in 2017 and Max in 2019.

Assange is scheduled to hold a press conference in a hotel in the Australian capital this Wednesday, after a long trip since he left London on Monday, and which led him to make a technical stop in Bangkok on Tuesday, before flying to the Northern Mariana Islands to formalize today your freedom.

What does Julian Assange’s lawyer say?

Julian Assange’s lawyerJennifer Robinson, He stressed that the case of the founder of WikiLeakswho returned to his native Australia on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge, ‘sets a dangerous precedent’.

“This represents the criminalisation of journalism,” Robinson stressed at a press conference, indicating that ‘unfortunately’ the Australian journalist and activist had to plead guilty in order to ‘regain his freedom’.

Attorney Robinson welcomed the efforts of the Australian government and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who repeatedly raised the case against Assange during bilateral talks with US officials.

“This is a great victory for Australia and for Australian democracy, it is a great victory for freedom of expression, it is a great victory because Australia stood up to an ally and demanded the return of an Australian citizen,” said the lawyer.

The activist went on Wednesday morning to the US federal court in the Northern Mariana Islands, in the United States, where he pleaded guilty in court to one count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified documents, with the aim of ratifying the agreement reached. between the Department of Justice and Assange’s defense.

Judge Ramona Villagomez sentenced Julian Assange to 62 months in prison, recognizing the time already served in the high security prison of Belmarsh, United Kingdom, for which he was released.