"Elated": WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Wife On Landmark Plea Deal

Stella Assange said the end of the years-long legal drama that saw him board a plane from London to Bangkok on Monday had been a "whirlwind of emotions".

'Elated': WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Wife On Landmark Plea Deal

Stella Assange said the plea deal involved her husband pleading guilty to the single charge. (File)

London:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's wife Stella said she was "elated" that he will be a "free man" after a US judge signs off on his landmark plea deal on Wednesday.

Stella Assange said the end of the years-long legal drama that saw him board a plane from London to Bangkok on Monday had been a "whirlwind of emotions".

"I'm just elated. Frankly, it's just incredible," the South African-born rights campaigner told BBC radio.

"We weren't really sure until the last 24 hours that it was actually happening."

Assange was on Monday freed on bail from a high-security prison in southeast London ahead of a plea hearing expected to take place in remote US territory.

He had been held in jail for five years as he fought extradition to the United States which sought to prosecute him for revealing military secrets.

He has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defence information, according to a document filed in court in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific where the hearing is expected to take place.

Stella Assange said the plea deal involved her husband pleading guilty to the single charge.

"The charge concerns the Espionage Act and obtaining and disclosing national defence information," she said.

"The important thing here is that the deal involved time served, that if he signed it, he would be able to walk free," she added.

- Extradition call to be withdrawn -

A charter plane flew the 52-year-old Australian publisher from London to Bangkok, where it made a scheduled stop to refuel.

From there it is set to fly to Saipan, the capital of the US territory where Assange is due in court on Wednesday morning.

"What there is, is an agreement in principle between Julian and the Department of Justice, and that has to be signed off by a judge in these Northern Mariana territories... in the Pacific Ocean where he is going to be headed," she said.

"He will be a free man once it has been signed off... and that will happen some time tomorrow."

Assange is later due to return to Australia under the deal.

Stephen Parkinson, chief prosecutor at Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said a court hearing paving the way for Assange's departure was held last Thursday.

It was held in private at Assange's request, he said.

"Thirteen-and-a-half years and two extradition requests after he was first arrested, Julian Assange left the UK yesterday," he said.

The CPS said that since March it had worked closely with the UK's National Crime Agency to help put in place "the necessary practical arrangements to enable Mr Assange to leave the jurisdiction safely, and in accordance with his wishes and those of the US government".

"Following the sentencing by the US Federal Judge, the government of the USA is expected to formally withdraw the extradition request, bringing the English extradition proceedings to a formal and immediate conclusion," a CPS statement added.

Stella Assange told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency that her husband was paying $500,000 (£390,000) for the flights taking him from London to Australia.

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