WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released from British prison on Monday after negotiating a deal with the United States under which he will plead guilty to a charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information, the Associated Press reported.

The deal ensures that while Assange will admit guilt for violating the US espionage law, he will be spared additional prison time, reported AP.

“After more than five years in a 2x3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he [Assange] will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars,” WikiLeaks said in a social media post.

WikiLeaks is a nonprofit media organisation that publishes leaked documents.

Assange faced 18 charges in the United States in connection with releasing five lakh secret files on American military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The files were made public between 2010 and 2011. Assange is also accused of soliciting and publishing the information.

In 2012, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Swedish authorities sought his arrest on rape allegations. He was arrested by the British police in 2019 on behalf of the United States.

In April 2021, a British court held that Assange could not be extradited to the US, as doing so would be “oppressive by reason of mental harm”.

Assange will return to his home country, Australia, after his plea and sentencing, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. The islands in the Pacific Ocean are United States territory.

He is likely to be credited for the five years he has already spent in jail and face no new jail time, reported The Guardian.

The hearing is taking place in Saipan because Assange did not want to travel to the continental United States and because of the Northern Mariana Islands’ proximity to Australia, prosecutors said, reported AP.

“WikiLeaks published groundbreaking stories of government corruption and human rights abuses, holding the powerful accountable for their actions,” the organisation said on Tuesday. “As editor-in-chief, Julian paid severely for these principles, and for the people's right to know.”