Press Release

Julian’s release

From London to Bangkok to Saipan to Canberra, Julian Assange arrives home a free man.

June 26, 2024 — Upon his release from Belmarsh prison on June 24th, following a plea deal agreement with the US government, Julian Assange boarded a plane to Bangkok and then to Saipan Island, a US overseas territory, where a hearing to formalize the plea deal took place.

“It appears this case ends with me here in Saipan”, said judge Manglona before who Julian’s plea deal was presented. “With this pronouncement it appears you will be able to walk out of this courtroom a free man. I hope there will be some peace restored.”

At a press conference after the hearing concluded, Julian Assange’s US attorney Barry Pollack further explained the terms of the plea deal.

Mr Assange was not going to agree to any dispositions in the case that required him to accept allegations that are simply not true. Mr Assange did not plead guilty to, and would not plead guilty to 17 counts of the Espionage Act, computer hacking… there was a very narrow agreed upon set of facts here, and Mr Assange acknowledged that, of course, he accepted documents from Chealsea Manning, and published many of those documents because it was in the world’s interests that those documents be published. Unfortunately, that violates the terms of the Espionage Act. That’s what we acknowledged today.

Barry Pollack

Pollack stressed that the chilling precedent is set by the US prosecution itself:

“What sets a chilling precedent is the prosecution, the fact that the US elected to charge Mr Assange with violating the Espionage Act. The court today determined that no harm was caused by Mr Assange’s publications, we know they were newsworthy, we know that they were quoted by every major media outlet on the planet, and we know that they revealed important information. That is called journalism. US prosecuted that. They exposed Mr Assange 175 years in prison. That is what has chilling effect.”Barry Pollack

Barry Pollack

Julian touched down safely in Canberra, Australia, around 8pm local time, and was welcomed by his family, his wife Stella, and father John Shipton, and scores of supporters.

At a press conference upon the arrival Julian and his lawyers, his Australian solicitor Jennifer Robinson, conveyed how important was the support Julian had from Australian PM and the government.

In a moving speech upon Julian’s arrival, Stella Assange thanked Australian PM Albanese, government officials, opposition politicians and the Australian people, as well as millions of people around the world who tirelessly worked to secure his freedom. She asked for understanding, space and privacy as Julian recuperates. She also recognized that the breakthrough in negotiations came at a time when there had been a breakthrough in the legal case, that is when the UK High Court had allowed permission to appeal in which Julian would be able to raise the First Amendment argument.

“It is in this context that things finally started to move. I think it revealed how uncomfortable the United States government is, in fact, of having these arguments aired… the fact that this case is an attack on journalism, it’s an attack on the public’s right to know and it should never have been brought.

Stella Assange

Julian Assange’s UK lawyer Gareth Pierce, in a rare statement for the press, said that the Assange case “has exposed major fault lines —not just within the US/UK extradition treaty itself, but in respect of human rights protections in both countries previously thought to be absolute. The responsibility for addressing their manifestation in one extraordinary experience demands a continued commitment even though the legal case, happily, has now ended.”