Julian Assange live news: WikiLeaks founder hugs family and salutes supporters as he touches down in Canberra

And touch down! The plane carrying Julian Assange has landed in Australia, bringing a 14-year-old legal ordeal to an end.

We’ve got more to come – but now, we can say he is home.

Our picture desk have put together a gallery of some of the images of Julian Assange’s return to Australia, which you can find here

On social media the official WikiLeaks account has been emphasising Stella Assange’s message that her husband needs time to rest and recuperate, but remains committed to campaigning on human rights issues. It quotes her saying earlier:

Julian has to recover – that’s the priority. Julian will always defend human rights. He will always defend victims. He’s always done that. And that’s just part of who he is. He’s deeply principled. And he remains deeply principled. And unafraid.

Here are some of the pictures of Julian Assange’s arrival in Australia as a free man.

If you’re just joining us, here’s what has just happened:

Julian Assange has landed in Australia. Assange punched the air, held his fist up and kissed his wife Stella Assange as he made his way across the tarmac.

Shortly after Assange’s arrival, the PM addressed the media from Parliament House, saying he had spoken to Assange on the phone and welcomed him back to Australia.

Supporters gathered at the East Hotel in Canberra, where Stella Assange and lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Barry Pollock addressed media. Robinson said Assange had told the PM that he had “saved his life”.

Stella Assange thanked everyone who helped and supported the campaign and asked for their privacy to “let our family be a family”.

Some supporters in attendance tonight have helped campaign for Assange’s release for years.

Katherine Kelly, who is a member of Alliance for Political Prosecutions, said Assange’s release “meant so much…a week ago I would have never seen this happening”.

“This has been a gargantuan fight for truth, for press freedom and for justice…it’s just fantastic, I feel like crying,” she said.

When asked if Julian Assange will speak in the coming days, Stella says “no comment”.

She has also been asked if WikiLeaks will continue to publish leaked papers:

Look, he just arrived in Australia after being in a high security prison for over five years and… A 72-hour flight here or something like that. It’s premature.

Julian has to recover – that’s the priority. And the fact that Julian will always defend human rights, will always defend victims. He’s always done that. And that’s just part of who he is.

He’s deeply principled. And he remains deeply principled. And unafraid.


I think that he will be pardoned if the press unite to push back against this precedent. Because it affects all of you. It affects your future ability to warn the public and to publish without fear.

Stella Assange says freedom of the press is in a “dangerous place” and the US should have dropped the case against Julian Assange.

That would have been the only good outcome for the press in general if the US government had abandoned this case entirely. Now, you have… You have the press in … as vulnerable a position as Julian has been.

Stella Assange has been asked if she would like to see Julian Assange pardoned. She said today they are celebrating his release, but he should be pardoned.

That precedent now can and will be used in the future against the rest of the press. So it is in the interest of all of the press to seek for this current state of affairs to change through reform of the Espionage Act.

Through increased press protections, and yes, eventually when time comes – not today – a pardon.

Robinson was asked about the DNC email leaks – where WikiLeaks leaked emails from Democrat staff, causing harm to the Clinton campaign.

There’s clearly public interest in the DNC materials released by WikiLeaks and in terms of the legality of the publications, there’s a US court decision showing that it had the highest possible protection of the first amendment.

So for a principle point of view, people might not like the politics of any particular publication, but that publication is absolutely protected by the first amendment as the US courts have found.

His wife Stella has been asked about what it was like seeing him – she says she can’t put it into words.

We embraced and I mean, I think you’ve seen the pictures. I don’t want to express in words what is obvious from the image.

And she asked for privacy…

Julian needs time to recover. To get used to freedoms. Someone told me yesterday who had been through something similar, that freedom comes slowly. And I want Julian to have that space to rediscover freedom, slowly. And quickly.

Robinson has been asked about the argument that Assange put lives at risk and that what he published wasn’t in the public interest:

Well, to start with – there’s no evidence of any actual harm. And that’s exactly what the US government acknowledged in court today in Saipan.

The public interest in those publications is clear. Evidence of war crimes, that the US had not disclosed the extent of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. The use of torture and other forms of human rights abuse around the world.

The fact that Julian has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year. So to suggest that this was not in the public interest – I don’t understand the basis in which they could possibly suggest that.


Updated: Juni 26, 2024 — 10:34 am

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