WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Admits to Conspiracy Following 5-Year Sentence

Julian Assange Guilty Plea Marks End of Long Legal Battle.

by Nouman Rasool
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Admits to Conspiracy Following 5-Year Sentence
© Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The following is an update on WikiLeaks founder Australian Julian Assange's legal affairs. He has been entangled in legal battles for over a decade and recently changed his plea to guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit the crime of obtaining national defense information.

According to The Associated Press, Assange pleaded guilty in a court in the Northern Mariana Islands; he arrived at the court only two hours before the court session. The plea draws on Assange’s long pre-trial detention and legal battle that began with the release of sensitive U.S.

documents through WikiLeaks more than a decade ago. Some of the published materials consisted of sensitive military videos and cables from the State Department that caused embarrassment across governments globally and serious concerns about national security.

Assange's Legal Ordeal

Assange first faced legal issues in 2010 when Wikileaks released classified material regarding the U. S. and its allies, and his situation worsened in 2019 when the British police stormed the Ecuadorian Embassy to detain him.

Also seeking asylum in order to escape rape charges in Sweden, Assange also faced charges from the U. S. for conspiring to leak sorted information with Manning. Swedish cases being dismissed, Assange spent over five years in London’s Belmarsh Prison fighting extradition.

The plea agreement now saved Assange from any more time in prison over the 62 months he has already spent behind bars. Despite Assange’s wife Stella planning on applying for a full pardon, stating that the charges under the Espionage Act pose a danger to journalists, the deal allows for the Australian Julian Assange to return to his home country after years of what Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called “futile” imprisonment outside his home country.

In its tweets about the deal on social networking sites, WikiLeaks condemned the compromises that were necessary for the deal while announcing Assange’s arrival in Australia from the Saipan island. Besides putting into question the national security framework, the case raises questions about the function of whistleblowing in constructing the public sphere’s culture of knowledge on the one hand and the consequences of leaking information on the other.

The document has, therefore, signaled a new chapter in the tortuous legal saga of Assange, who, after having been away from his home country for so long, has pleaded guilty.