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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will stop in Bangkok

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will stop in Bangkok

A plane carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will make a stop in Bangkok to refuel, a senior Thai official informed AFP on Tuesday. The plane will then proceed to the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific.

“The flight will land around 11:50 am (0450 GMT) from London. It is expected to refuel and resupply with water before departing at 9:00 pm for Saipan island,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Assange is being transported to the US territory to face a judge as part of a plea deal that is anticipated to allow him to return to his native Australia. The 52-year-old has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defense information, as stated in a court document filed in the Northern Mariana Islands.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday morning local time and is expected to be sentenced to 62 months in prison, with credit given for the more than five years he has already served on remand in Britain.

Assange was accused of publishing approximately 700,000 confidential documents related to US military and diplomatic activities beginning in 2010. He has been held in a high-security prison in London since 2019, following a seven-year asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on subsequently dropped sexual assault charges.

WikiLeaks announced that Assange had been granted bail, transferred from Belmarsh jail to Stansted airport, northeast of London, and put on a plane.

The plea deal concludes a prolonged legal battle over US attempts to extradite Assange from Britain to face charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. The resolution of the case was not entirely unexpected, as US President Joe Biden faced increasing pressure to drop the long-running prosecution against Assange.

Agence France-Presse reported this news, including a screenshot courtesy of WikiLeaks’ X page showing Assange boarding a plane at London Stansted Airport on June 24.

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