Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, walks free after a protracted legal battle.

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Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, walks free after a protracted legal battle.

“It seems that you will be able to walk out of this courtroom a free man,” the judge declared.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, walks free after a protracted legal battle.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (C) and his lawyer Jennifer Robinson (R) walk through the security area upon his arrival at the US Federal Courthouse in the Commonwealth

SAIPAN: After reaching a plea agreement, a US judge liberated Julian Assange, bringing an end to his protracted legal battle. Assange founded WikiLeaks.

The 52-year-old Julian Assange creator of WikiLeaks entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to obtain and distribute material related to US national defense.

It seems that you will be allowed to leave this courtroom as a free man, according to the judge in the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Journalists and residents crowded the courtroom, some wearing brightly colored Hawaiian shirts, eager to see what would happen. In court, Assange stated, “As a journalist, I encouraged my source to provide material that was said to be classified.” He was wearing a black suit and brown tie. Although he was given a five-year and two-month sentence, he was given credit for time spent in a British prison.

Among those in attendance was Australia’s ambassador to the US, Kevin Rudd. He shared a brief laugh with Assange during a break. The hearing was held in the Northern Mariana Islands because of Assange’s unwillingness to go to the US mainland and because of is closeness to Australia.

Assange is scheduled to depart for Canberra, Australia following the hearing. On the social media site X, WikiLeaks declared that the plea agreement “should never have had to happen.”

The plea agreement was hailed by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who said that Assange’s case had “dragged on for too long” and that there was “nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration.”

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