Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is free

Pierluigi Paganini June 25, 2024

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been released in the U.K. and has left the country after five years in Belmarsh prison.

Julian Assange is free after five years in Belmarsh prison, the WikiLeaks founder has been released in the U.K. and is flying to the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, to make a brief court appearance before flying to Australia where he will be a free man in Australia.

Assange accepted Saipan as the location due to its “opposition to traveling to the continental U.S.” and the court’s proximity to the defendant’s country of citizenship, Australia.

Assange faced multiple criminal charges under America’s Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Wikileaks founder was facing extradition to the United States for his role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States. He published thousands of classified diplomatic and military documents on WikiLeaks in 2010.

For the first time, US DoJ charges an individual under the 102-year-old Act that persecutes the disclosure of national defense information that could be used against the United States.

According to the DoJ, the WikiLeaks founder conspired and tried to recruit Anonymous and LulzSec hacker to steal confidential and secret data on his behalf. In 2010, Assange gained unauthorized access to a government computer system of a NATO country and years later he contacted a LulzSec leader who was working for the FBI and provided him a list of targets.

The US authorities also accuse Assange of having conspired with Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password hash for an Army computer to access classified documents that were later published on the WikiLeaks website.

In April 2019, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after Ecuador withdrew asylum after seven years.

In 2012 a British judge ruled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there, but Assange received political asylum from Ecuador and spent the last years in its London embassy.

In May 2019, the WikiLeaks founder was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012 and finding asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy for more than seven years.

A few weeks later, the United States Department of Justice charged Assange with 18 counts of the alleged violation of the Espionage Act.

Assange now pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. national defense documents. He is scheduled to be sentenced to 62 months of time already served in Saipan later this week.

Assange’s wife Stella thanked her husband’s supporters on X.

Pierluigi Paganini

Follow me on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook and Mastodon

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Assange)

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