The WikiLeaks Founder Returns To Australia After A Decade-long Legal Dispute With The US

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange


Author: Eliana Ball

Published: June 26, 2024

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is known for publishing classified information. He has returned to his homeland, Australia, after a long legal battle with the United States.

Julian Assange has been in custody in the UK. He recently pleaded guilty to conspiring to get and reveal national defense information. This plea deal effectively ends a yearslong legal battle with the U.S. government. Assange entered the plea at a court in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth north of Guam. The U.S. Department of Justice expects him to travel to Australia, his birthplace, after the hearing.


Assange and WikiLeaks leaked classified U.S. military documents and videos. They were from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Notably, they published a video of an Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed civilians. WikiLeaks also released about 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables. They also released stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee. They also released emails from Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta.

The Legal Saga

Assange faced accusations of getting and publishing U.S. military secrets. These included war logs and diplomatic cables. They were about military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Press freedom advocates widely supported his activities. They praised his role in exposing military misconduct that might have stayed hidden. WikiLeaks published files. Among them was a video showing a 2007 Apache helicopter attack by American forces in Baghdad. The attack resulted in the deaths of 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.

The Unusual Setting

Assange’s legal saga ended unexpectedly. It happened in a U.S. district court in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. This location allowed him to avoid entering the continental United States. Assange pleaded guilty to the charges. This led to a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

His Return to Australia

Assange is 52. He arrived in Australia on a charter jet. Supporters greeted him at the Canberra airport. He embraced his wife, Stella Assange, and his father, John Shipton, who were waiting on the tarmac.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the moment as “surreal and happy.”

Key Players

Kevin Rudd is the Australian Ambassador to the United States. Stephen Smith is the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. They played crucial roles. They negotiated Assange’s freedom with London and Washington. The “Assange team” funded the flights. The Australian government helped with the transport.

Freedom After Five Years

Assange spent five years in a British prison fighting extradition to the U.S. His release marks the end of a complex legal battle. It involved press freedom, national security, and international relations.

Are there any ongoing investigations related to WikiLeaks?

He was sentenced to the five years he had already served in a British prison while fighting extradition. This plea deal allows him to walk free and marks the end of a long legal battle

In summary, Julian Assange’s return to Australia as a free man signifies the resolution of a decade-long legal struggle. His case remains a landmark in the ongoing debate over the balance between transparency, journalism, and government secrecy.

Published by Eliana Ball

Passionate Writer at The London Wire | Wordsmith Extraordinaire | Crafting Engaging and Captivating Stories One Page at a Time | Lover of Words

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