A close to 15-year legal stand-off between Julian Assange and US authorities could be drawing to a close with news that the WikiLeaks founder has agreed to plead guilty to charges of illegally obtaining and disclosing national security material in exchange for his release.

Assange has long resisted being extradited to the US, and is set to instead appear in the US federal court in Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, where he is expected to be sentenced to five years and then released as this is the equivalent of time already served in a UK prison.

Assange has already left London, and is scheduled to appear in the Saipan court tomorrow (26 June). He will most likely then return to his native Australia.

The move concludes a saga that began in 2010, when WikiLeaks published classified information on US diplomatic, military and political issues.

In 2012, facing extradition to Sweden, he sought asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He was removed from the embassy in 2019 and sentenced to prison in London, initially for breaching bail conditions and later while resisting extradition to the US.