Julian Assange, the Free Man, Finally Lands in Australia!
Moneylife Digital Team 26 June 2024
After enduring nearly 14 years of arbitrary detention in the UK and five years in maximum security prison for his groundbreaking publishing work with WikiLeaks, Julian Assange has arrived home on Australian soil. 
 
 
However, his flight from UK to flight to Saipan and onward to Australia came at an enormous cost. Mr Assange will owe US$520,000, which he is obligated to pay back to the Australian government for the chartered flight. 
 
Stella Assange, the wife of Mr Assange, posted an emergency appeal on X seeking donations to cover the massive debt of the jet.
 
She says, "Julian's travel to freedom comes at a massive cost: Julian will owe US$520,000, which he is obligated to pay back to the Australian government for charter Flight VJ199. He was not permitted to fly commercial airlines or routes to Saipan and onward to Australia. Any contribution, big or small, is much appreciated."
 
 
The supporters of Mr Assange from the UK started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for his chartered flight and to take care of his health. "In addition, after 14 years of detention, including five years in maximum security prison, Julian's health is in dire need of recovery. We are launching an emergency appeal to seek donations to help him cover the flight debt and substantial funds to ensure his recovery and well-being and safety upon his arrival," the crowdfunding campaign on Crowdfunder states. 
 
 
On Monday, the WikiLeaks founder reached a deal with the US government, agreeing to plead guilty to one felony related to the disclosure of national security information in exchange for his release from Belmarsh Prison in the UK. 
 
A related document was filed in federal court in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth. 
 
Mr Assange faced the risk of spending the rest of his life in US prison if convicted of Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges for publishing classified material, including the 'collateral murder' video and the Afghan and Iraq war logs. Before Belmarsh, he spent seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with asylum protections. 
 
"Julian Assange is free," WikiLeaks declared on the social media platform X, confirming that he left Belmarsh Monday "after having spent 1,901 days there," locked in a small cell for 23 hours a day. 
 
The news of Assange's release was celebrated by people around the world.
 
Speaking with the media after Mr Assange landed in Australia, his wife Stella also highlighted concerns about the danger of the US case against Mr Assange that criminalises and has secured a conviction for newsgathering and publishing information.

"That precedent now can and will be used in the future against the rest of the press. So it is in the interest of all of the press to seek for this current state of affairs to change through reform of the Espionage Act. Through increased press protections, and yes, eventually when the time comes - not today - a pardon," she says.
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Julian Assange Freed, but Experts Warn Plea Deal Could Set Dangerous Precedent
Common Dreams 26 June 2024
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday reached a deal with the U.S. government, agreeing to plead guilty to one felony related to the disclosure of national security information in exchange for his release from Belmarsh Prison in...
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