Stella Assange, the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian, has given an interview with Reuters saying they will launch a fundraising campaign, as the flight from London to Saipan will cost them about half a million US dollars.

The family will also seek a pardon for Julian, after he agreed to plead guilty to violating US espionage law.

Stella Assange leaves the High Court in London, on Monday.

Stella Assange leaves the High Court in London, on Monday.Credit: AP

Stella, a lawyer who has worked on Julian’s campaign almost since the start of his legal battles, said she would seek a pardon because the acceptance of guilt on an espionage charge was a “very serious concern” for journalists around the world.

She also will launch a fundraising campaign as the flight was funded by the family and would cost about half a million US dollars.

“The fact that there is a guilty plea, under the Espionage Act in relation to obtaining and disclosing national defence information is obviously a very serious concern for journalists and national security journalists in general,” she said.

“It’s Australian policy that he will have to pay his own return flight so he’s had to charter a flight and so he will basically be in debt when he lands in Canberra.

“We’re going to launch an emergency fund to try to get this money so that we can pay the Australian government back for his freedom flight.”

Reuters.

Washington: The release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has sparked condemnation and celebration across the US, reflecting the ongoing divisions over his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents.

And despite President Joe Biden being lobbied for months to drop prosecution proceedings against Assange, the White House says it played no role in his new plea deal, which will allow the Australian to be free after he pleads guilty to a single felony charge under the Espionage Act.

“This was an independent decision made by the Department of Justice and there was no White House involvement in the plea deal decision,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told this masthead.

As news of Assange’s expected release reverberated across the US, some lashed out at the development or compared it to Donald Trump’s looming trial for his handling of classified documents, while others praised the deal as long overdue.

Former Republican vice president Mike Pence said the plea deal was a “miscarriage of justice and dishonours the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families”.

Read the full story on the reaction of the US political world here.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence as president and vice president in April 2020.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence as president and vice president in April 2020.Credit: AP

The flight Julian Assange is on has landed in Saipan.

In a post to X by WikiLeaks, VistaJet flight VJT199 was listed as the charter flight carrying Assange.

A flight-tracking link from FlightAware shows the plane landed about five minutes ago at 6.16am in Saipan.

“The sun is about to rise on Saipan Island, the US territory where Julian Assange’s plane is due to land in an hour,” the post by WikiLeaks stated.

Yesterday, news broke that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was set to be freed after agreeing to a plea deal with US prosecutors, bringing a sudden end to his long-running legal saga and delighting his relatives and supporters.

Assange’s plane is set to land in minutes at Saipan Island. Here’s a summary of everything we know from yesterday:

  • The WikiLeaks founder was freed from London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison on Tuesday after 1901 days behind bars, and quickly departed the United Kingdom accompanies by Australia’s UK high commissioner, Stephen Smith.
  • The flight landed in Bangkok for refuelling on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Assange is scheduled to appear in federal court in the Northern Mariana Islands, a United States commonwealth in the Western Pacific, at 9am on Wednesday to plead guilty to a single Espionage Act of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information.
  • The brother of Assange, Gabriel Shipton, told this masthead the family were overjoyed he will be landing in Australia soon as he is expected to travel to Canberra after pleading guilty at Saipan.
  • The plea deal follows determined lobbying by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who raise Assange’s case in meetings with US President Joe Biden, and by Australian politicians from across the political spectrum.
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.Credit: Getty Images

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of Julian Assange, who is due to appear in court this morning after making a plea deal with the United States.

The WikiLeaks founder is set to land in Saipan – a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific – about 6.16am local time before he will appear in court to plead guilty to a felony charge in a plea deal with the US.

We will have updates for you throughout the day and from our North Asia Correspondent Lisa Visentin, who will be reporting from Saipan.

The plane thought to be carrying WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, on his way to enter a plea deal in U.S. court, departs Bangkok, Thailand.

The plane thought to be carrying WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, on his way to enter a plea deal in U.S. court, departs Bangkok, Thailand.Credit: AP

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