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Friday, July 19, 2024

Julian Assange, a Free Man, Lands in Australia!

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returned home to Australia to start life as a free man Wednesday after admitting he revealed US defence secrets in a deal that unlocked the door to his London prison cell.

Assange landed on a chilly Canberra evening in a private jet, the final stage of an international drama that led him from a five-year stretch in the high-security Belmarsh prison in Britain to a courtroom in a US Pacific Island territory and, finally, home.

Cheers erupted from supporters gathered at Canberra Airport in the Australian capital as Assange disembarked the aircraft. He waved to the crowds as he walked across the tarmac.

As he approached the terminal, his wife Stella emerged with a broad smile on her face. Assange pulled her into hug, lifting her off the floor before the pair kissed.

Earlier Wednesday, Assange walked out of the courtroom in Saipan, on the Northern Mariana Islands, a remote US Pacific territory, raising one hand to a gaggle of the world’s press before departing by car for the airport to journey on to Australia.

Speaking outside the court, Assange’s US lawyer Barry Pollack said he had “suffered tremendously in his fight for free speech and freedom of the press.”

“The prosecution of Julian Assange is unprecedented in the 100 years of the Espionage Act,” Pollack told reporters. “Mr. Assange revealed truthful, newsworthy information … We firmly believe that Mr. Assange never should have been charged under the Espionage Act and engaged in (an) exercise that journalists engage in every day.”

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