Wednesday, July 17, 2024
HomeWorldWikileaks founder Julian Assange returns to Australia a free man after US...

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange returns to Australia a free man after US legal battle concludes

Canberra: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange returned to his homeland Australia on Wednesday after a decade-long legal battle over the release of classified US military secrets concluded in the US Pacific island territory of Saipan, where he pleaded guilty to violating US espionage law. His release ended a 14-year legal saga in which Assange spent more than five years in a British high-security jail and seven years in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London battling extradition to the United States

Earlier today, Assange pled guilty to one criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified US national defence documents. However, Assange said he had at the time believed the US Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects free speech, shielded his activities. “Working as a journalist I encouraged my source to provide information that was said to be classified in order to publish that information,” he told the court. “I believed the First Amendment protected that activity but I accept that it was … a violation of the espionage statute.”

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