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It's just after 08:30 in London and 17:30 in Sydney and the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific, and significant developments are unfolding in the

case of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.

Assange has departed from a UK prison and is currently en route to the Northern Mariana Islands, with a stopover in Bangkok. This journey marks a critical step in the resolution of his prolonged legal battles.

Plea Agreement and Legal Proceedings

Assange has reached an agreement with US authorities to plead guilty to a single charge under the Espionage Act. This charge is a reduction from the original 18 charges related to Wikileaks' publication of confidential US military records. Previously, Assange had denied these charges, asserting that the leaks constituted an act of journalism.

However, on Wednesday, Assange is expected to formally plead guilty in a US courtroom in the Northern Mariana Islands. This plea is part of a deal that will see him avoid serving additional time in a US prison, considering the time he has already spent in UK custody. Following the court proceedings, Assange is set to move to Australia as a free man.

Reactions and Statements

Stella Assange, Julian's wife, expressed her mixed emotions in an interview with the BBC, describing the situation as a "whirlwind of emotions." She conveyed her elation at the recent developments and shared insights into the family's future plans. Their priority, she stated, is for Julian to recover his health after enduring a "terrible state" for the past five years.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also weighed in, emphasizing the prolonged nature of the case and expressing a desire to see Assange returned to Australia. "We want him brought home to Australia," Albanese said, noting that regardless of varying opinions on the case, it has dragged on for too long.

Impact on Family

Stella Assange also discussed the impact on their children, aged five and seven. She mentioned that the children are unaware of the full details of their father's potential release, as the deal still requires judicial approval. However, they are excited about their recent move to Australia, where they await their father's arrival.

Legal Breakthrough

The breakthrough in Assange's case came when the High Court in London began considering his constitutional protections under freedom of the press. Stella Assange interpreted this as a pivotal moment that led to the agreement between Assange and US authorities.

As the world watches, the final steps in Julian Assange's legal saga are unfolding, with significant implications for his future and the broader discourse on journalism and freedom of the press. The coming days will determine the conclusion of a case that has captured global attention for over a decade. Photo by Espen Moe, Wikimedia commons.