Julian Assange claims he’ll surrender to US if Obama frees Chelsea Manning
Wikileaks boss Julian Assange has offered to surrender himself to authorities if President Obama follows through on reports he is considering freeing Chelsea Manning.
Private Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, is currently imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking classified government documents concerning alleged war crimes via WikiLeaks.
Manning has sued the US Army for her right to transition behind bars, and is appealing her “unjust” 35-year prison sentence – on the basis that her actions helped raise serious issues related to military practise. She has attempted suicide a number of times while in custody.
Reports emerged this week that the whistleblower is on President Obama’s “shortlist” for a commutation as part of his final round of pardons before leaving office.
In response to the news Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has sought to evade authorities by living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, offered to surrender himself if Manning is freed.
Wikileaks confirmed: “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DOJ [Department of Justice] case”.
Despite the suggestion that he will agree to “US extradition”, the only outstanding warrant for Assange’s arrest is from Sweden, where he is wanted in connection with a rape allegation.
President-elect Donald Trump has previously praised Assange and Wikileaks for publishing illegally hacked emails from the Democratic National Convention – casting doubt over the future of any case against the Wikileaks founder for hacking-related charges in the US.
Assange has not left London’s Ecuadoran embassy since 2012.
An investigation recently suggested that Wikileaks data dumps endangered gay men in Saudi Arabia.
A probe of 120,000 Saudi files dumped on Wikileaks revealed the documents included private health and crime records, exposing personal data of everyday Saudis.
It identified at least one man with a gay sex conviction – as well as a number of rape victims and people living with HIV.