Julian Assange is free

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Julian Assange has landed in Australia a free man, reuniting with his family last Wednesday after pleading guilty to one charge of violating the US Espionage Act as part of a deal with the Department of Justice.

The WikiLeaks publisher entered his plea on the Pacific island of Saipan, part of the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, which lets him avoid further prison time following five years behind bars in the UK awaiting possible extradition to the US.

He had been facing a possible 175 years in US prison if convicted on charges related to his publication of classified documents in 2010 that revealed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“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,” the WikiLeaks founder’s wife, Stella Assange, said at a press conference last Wednesday.

“Julian should never have spent a single day in prison. But today Democracy Now! celebrates, because today Julian is free.”

Also reacting are members of Assange’s legal team, Jennifer Robinson and Barry Pollack, who said the use of the World War One-era Espionage Act to go after a publisher puts press freedom at grave risk.

Produced by: Democracy Now!

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