Assange to US: If You Want Me, Release Chelsea Manning
The AFP reported Thursday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to extradition to the United States on one condition: President Barack Obama must first grant clemency to imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking sensitive military and diplomatic documents published by WikiLeaks in 2010.
U.S. officials have threatened to prosecute Julian Assange over the same 2010 leaks.
The above tweet from WikiLeaks was accompanied by a letter from Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack, to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Pollack argues that there is no legitimate basis for continued investigations into his client.
However, as some U.S. lawmakers continue to call for deeper investigations into the hacking of DNC officials and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, it is likely Assange would be held to account for much more under U.S. custody.
Assange has lived in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. The WikiLeaks founder believes Sweden will just turn him over to the U.S.
Assange and WikiLeaks have gone on a media blitz this week. On Monday, Assange held an audio press conference on Periscope.tv, where he answered questions from people on Twitter using the hashtag #AskWL. During the audio stream, Assange asserted that the ODNI intelligence report was heavily politicized and “quite embarrassing to the reputations of the US intelligence services.”
On Tuesday, Assange hosted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), during which he avoided answering more pointed questions.
Now, WikiLeaks claims Assange will agree to extradition to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning is released. Manning was sentenced in 2013, and is serving her sentence in solitary confinement. Manning has attempted suicide twice and has an appeal pending before a military court.
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