Julian Assange leaves UK after being freed in US plea deal

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after a plea deal with the US.

Assange, 52, has spent the last five years in a British prison, from where he has been fighting extradition to the US. He was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.

For years, the US has argued that the Wikileaks files – which disclosed information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – endangered lives.

According to CBS, the BBC’s US partner, Assange will spend no time in US custody and will receive credit for the time spent incarcerated in the UK.

The deal – which will see him plead guilty to one charge – is expected to be finalised in a court in the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday, 26 June.

The remote Pacific islands, a US commonwealth, are much closer to Australia than US federal courts in Hawaii or the continental US.

Assange will return to Australia, according to a letter from the justice department.

We are tracking reaction, commentary and news lines around this – stay with us.

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