Watch: Julian Assange lands on Pacific island after release from prison

Watch as Julian Assange arrives at Saipan International Airport in the Northern Mariana Islands for his court hearing to plead guilty to violating US espionage law following his release from prison in the UK on Tuesday, 25 June.

The WikiLeaks founder, 52, will appear before a judge in the US territory to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of obtaining and disclosing information of national importance, with a proposed sentence of time served.

The US has dropped 17 other espionage charges against him.

After the hearing he will fly to Australia, where he was born, to reunite with his wife Stella Assange, his two young sons, and other family members.

Mr Assange spent five years in Belmarsh Prison in London, largely in solitary confinement, fighting extradition.

He paid half a million US dollars (£394,000) for a chartered flight from Stansted airport, accompanied by a WikiLeaks lawyer, a representative of the Australian government and a medic to check on his health on Tuesday.

Ms Assange said she travelled to Australia with the couple’s children on Sunday when it became clear that her husband would be freed.

"It is hard to believe that Julian has been in prison for so long. It had become normalised. I am grateful to the people who made this possible but I am also angry that it ever came to this," she said.

“Overall I am elated but I cannot believe it is actually happening until I see Julian.

“The public climate has shifted and everyone understands that Julian has been the victim."

Assange had been locked in a lengthy legal battle in the UK over his extradition, which saw him enter and live in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 before his detention in Belmarsh.

In 2021, a district judge said Assange should not be sent to the US, citing a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide, while ruling against him on all other issues.

US authorities won a High Court bid to overturn this block, paving the way towards Assange’s extradition, later that year.

Assange was due to bring his own challenge to the High Court in London in July after he was given the go-ahead to challenge the original judge’s dismissal of parts of his case.