WikiLeaks Founder Assange Says He Stands By Extradition Offer
RFE/RL January 19, 2017
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on January 19 that he his standing by his offer to be extradited to the United States as soon as whistle-blower Chelsea Manning is released from a U.S. prison.
Assange, who has been holed up at thee Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, said last week that he would accept extradition if Manning, a former military intelligence analyst, was freed, and provided his own rights are protected.
On January 18, U.S. President Barack Obama commuted Manning's 35-year sentence. She is now scheduled to be released in May.
Obama said the move had nothing to do with Assange's offer.
When asked on January 19 if he was prepared to hand himself over to U.S. authorities, the 45-year-old Assange said there was no change in his position.
"I stand by everything I said, including the offer to go to the United States if Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted," Assange told a live online audio news conference. "It's not going to be commuted [until] May. We can have many discussions to that point."
Assange fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape.
WikiLeaks and Assange have been under investigation for years for publishing thousands of highly sensitive leaked documents from the United States.
He says he has long feared that if he leaves the embassy in London, he could be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges.
To date, no criminal charges have been filed against Assange in the United States.
With reporting by Reuters and The Independent
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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