Julian Assange is free?  Is it true?  Yes!

Julian Assange walked onto a plane on his way out of London, where he was imprisoned for five years, and looked out the window enroute. Photos: Wikileaks/ X
Julian Assange walked onto a plane on his way out of London, where he was imprisoned for five years, and looked out the window enroute. Photos: Wikileaks/ X

by Susan McLucas and Paula Iasella

On June 24, around 7pm EDT, rumors were flying that Assange had taken a plea deal offered by the Department of Justice. At 7:30pm WikiLeaks posted on twitter:


Julian Assange is free. He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 days there. He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.

This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations. This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalised. We will provide more information as soon as possible.

After more than five years in a 2×3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars. WikiLeaks published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding the powerful accountable for their actions. As editor-in-chief, Julian paid severely for these principles, and for the people’s right to know.

As he returns to Australia, we thank all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom. Julian’s freedom is our freedom.

Julian Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, tweeted: “Julian is free!!!! Words cannot express our immense gratitude to YOU- yes YOU, who have all mobilised for years and years to make this come true. THANK YOU. tHANK YOU. THANK YOU.”

Assange spent no time in US custody and pled guilty to one charge of “conspiracy to disseminate national defense information”.  He was sentenced yesterday by a judge in the Northern Mariana Islands to time served while awaiting extradition in the UK, receive credit for the time spent incarcerated in the UK.   He walked free and arrived in Australia today.   Under Assange’s leadership, WikiLeaks published almost 400,000 secret US files on the Iraq war in 2010, showing that the civilian deaths caused by the  U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were much higher than the numbers being reported, including the film Collateral Murder which showed U.S. soldiers firing on and killing a group of Iraqis in 2007, including two Reuters journalists.

Stella’s tweet with video of Julian arriving at federal courthouse in Saipan, 6pm EDT June 25.        https://x.com/Stella_Assange/status/1805724155498971406

Bruce Afran, a U.S. constitutional lawyer, and Marjorie Cohn, former president of the U.S. National Lawyers’ Guild both told Consortium News that a plea deal does not create a legal precedent. Therefore, Assange’s deal would not put journalists in the future in jeopardy of being prosecuted for accepting and publishing classified information from a source.

Chip Gibbons, policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent, said in a statement, “We are ecstatic that Julian Assange will go free. Assange’s only crime was exposing US war crimes as a journalist and publisher. The world is a better place because of Assange and WikiLeaks publishing revelations from whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Manning and Assange should both be lauded as heroes. (…) Our fight is far from over. The Espionage Act remains on the books and Assange’s victory only strengthens our resolve to end the Espionage Act’s threat to our democracy once and for all.”

We are co-organizers of Boston Area Assange Defense. We have advocated for Julian Assange’s freedom since October 2020 – holding weekly visibilities leading up to the UK’s ruling on Assange’s extradition, January 4, 2021. Since then, we’ve organized actions every 2-3 weeks accompanied by newsletters and press releases to 187 local news outlets.  We and MAPA also brought Assange’s brother to Boston in 2021 where he accepted the Sacco and Vanzetti Award from the Community of Church of Boston on behalf of Julian, and we organized a screening of the film Ithaka, which describes the Assange family’s struggle for justice, at the Somerville Theater in March 2022.  We held a Student Press Freedom Event at CCB in 2023. We met with our senators’ offices and handed in hundreds of signatures asking for their help. We were active on social media creating many videos to document our events and encourage supporters to take action to defend press freedom and fight for Assange’s freedom.

We are overjoyed with the outcome.  Julian’s Saipan court appearance went well – Julian will not be silenced, WikiLeaks will continue, and the judge confirmed that WikiLeaks publications put no one in harm’s way! Julian walked out of the Saipan federal court a free man, and supporters held a press conference  Julian landed today in his home country of Australia and been reunited, at long last, with his family.

Our next Free Assange rally was previously scheduled for Wednesday, July 3, Assange’s birthday, at 4pm in front of the British Consulate at One Broadway in Kendall Sq, Cambridge.  We now plan to hold a short rally there and then go to Brothers Marketplace for birthday cake and celebration.

We would like to thank our Boston allies, including Massachusetts Peace Action (Cole Harrison and Brian Garvey), Boston May Day Coalition (John Harris), Community Church of Boston (Dean Stevens, Amar Ahmad, Charlie Welch); activists/organizers Julia Hansen, Ed Childs, Paul Shannon; stalwarts of our standouts, Joe Kebartas, Charles Thomson, Jon Hiratsuka, James Van Looy, Massoudeh Edmond, Susan Mortimer, the late Jeanne Winner, Victor Wallis, Tom Cerulli and others for contributing greatly to our efforts.

Assange Defense Boston rallies