Julian Assange’s Jet Arrives in Bangkok, On Way to Offshore U.S. Court

Assange Flight
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Julian Assange was released from a high-security UK prison on Monday morning and is now en route to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. He is travelling to the island of Saipan as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was freed by British authorities on Monday as part of a deal where he will appear before a Federal Judge without stepping foot on the mainland United States. As reported overnight, under the deal Mr Assange will plead guilty to one count of conspiring to obtain and disclose national defence information before being released to his native Australia.

Assange’s plane, a leased private jet, left London on Monday evening and flew overnight to Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand for a layover. The aircraft has filed flight plans for the next leg, taking it to Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, a Commonwealth or dependency of the United States tonight. The six-hour flight is due to leave Bangkok around 9pm Thailand-time (1500 BST, 1000 ET).

While a deal appears to have been struck with the U.S. DoJ, the Defend Julian Assange Campaign said the Wikileaks founder “is not out of the woods yet”, and implied a threat to Assange’s aircraft while it was in the sky. Assange’s wife Stella was more explicit, sharing tracking details of the aircraft and writing: “Please follow [the aircraft], we need all eyes on his flight in case something goes wrong.”

Britain’s Criminal Prosecution Service released a statement on the release of Mr Assange to fly to a U.S. territory today. The Guardian cites the director of public prosecutions as having said:

Thirteen-and-a-half years and two extradition requests after he was first arrested, Julian Assange left the UK yesterday, following a bail hearing last Thursday, held in private at his request.

I am proud of the way our extradition unit has dealt with this case. They have acted with expertise and skill, under international scrutiny, to provide legal advice to both the Swedish and US authorities.

This case has absorbed considerable time and resource from the criminal justice system over many years. The intended outcome of the plea agreement will be to accomplish the primary objective of delivering justice. It will also save the continuing substantial resource outlay involved in litigating this matter further in England.


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