The plane carrying Assange landed on US soil

A plane carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange landed in the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday, where he must appear before a judge before regaining his freedom, AFP journalists reported.

Julian Assange leaves Great Britain after his release from prison Photo: AFP / AFP / Profimedia

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is set to plead guilty to violating US espionage laws on Wednesday, ending his prison sentence in Britain and allowing him to return to Australia after a 14-year legal odyssey.

Assange, 52, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disclose classified US national security documents, according to documents filed in the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

He has already been sentenced to 62 months in prison at a trial in Saipan on Wednesday at 9am local time (1 in Romania). Prosecutors said the Pacific island was chosen because of Assange’s objections to traveling to the US mainland and its proximity to Australia.

Assange was released from Britain’s Belmarsh prison on Monday by the British High Court on bail before boarding a flight that afternoon, WikiLeaks said in a statement posted on social media site X.

“This is the result of a global campaign, involving grassroots organizers, press freedom activists, lawmakers and leaders from across the political spectrum to the United Nations,” the statement said.

A video released by WikiLeaks on X shows Assange, dressed in a blue shirt and jeans, signing a document before boarding a private jet with charter company VistaJet.

WikiLeaks said he would return to Australia after the trial, referring to the Saipan trial.

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“Julian is free!!!!” announced in a post on X. “Words cannot express our immense gratitude to you – yes, you, for years of rallying for this. To be real.”

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