Whistleblower Julian Assange returns home to Australia after pleading guilty

Julian Assange set foot in freedom on Tuesday 25 June for the first time since the Wikileaks scandal in 2010. He has made a plea deal which allowed him to return to his home country.

Whistleblower Julian Assange released prison guilty plea return home
© Luke MacGregor / Getty Images
Whistleblower Julian Assange released prison guilty plea return home

In 2010, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange published countless secret documents via his portal, including documents on war crimes. The Australian is considered one of the most famous whistleblowers of all time and for this reason he has not spent the last 14 years in freedom.

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What has happened in recent years?

To avoid extradition, Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2010 and was granted political asylum. The country then also granted him citizenship. However, as he violated embassy asylum several times in the years that followed, he was arrested by the British police in 2019.

From 2019 until now, Julian Assange has been in prison and also lost his Ecuadorian citizenship. In the years that followed, there were repeated negotiations and appeals as to whether the Wikileaks founder should be extradited to the USA. He himself always fought against this. He ultimately remained in a high-security prison in London until an agreement was reached with the US Department of Justice on Tuesday 25 June 2024.

He is said to be in poor health

Is this new development also due to his health? It has been known for some time that the Australian is not well, even if there are no official reports. Doctors even demanded medical treatment for him in an open letter in 2019.

In 2021, Julian Assange suffered a stroke due to extreme stress. He suffers from severe depression due to his constant isolation. During the court proceedings in London, his doctor even spoke of hallucinations. His wife Stella Assange also repeatedly reported in the media about her husband's poor physical and mental condition.

After confessing his guilt, he can return to his home country

On Tuesday, the 52-year-old pleaded partially guilty, in return for which the US assured him that he could travel back to his home country of Australia—he secured his freedom. And that is exactly where he is at the moment. Recent posts from Wikileaks on X showed him boarding an aeroplane.

He appeared in court near Australia in the Mariana Islands on Wednesday 26 June, from which he walked out as a free man, finally. This is a group of islands in the Western Pacific under the sovereignty of the USA. He then travelled directly to Australia, and one can only hope he is able to lead a self-determined life again, despite the effects of imprisonment on his health.

This article has been translated from Gentside DE.

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Sources used:

ZDF Heute: Julian Assange - Chronologie der Ereignisse

BILD: Nach Deal mit den USA : Hier fliegt Assange in die Freiheit

BILD: Schlaganfall, Depressionen, Dauerstress: Wie krank ist Julian Assange wirklich?

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