Assange Breaks Promise to Surrender
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has reneged on a promise to surrender himself to the US Department of Justice if whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from prison. Earlier this week, outgoing US President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s prison sentence from thirty-five years down to just four more months, at which point she will walk free.
Days before this occurred, Wikileaks tweeted the following:
If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case https://t.co/MZU30SlfGK
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 12, 2017
Assange has been living in exile in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over four years to avoid extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. He seems set to remain there longer still, backing out of his promise by claiming – through his lawyer – that the conditions he set down have not been met.
“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning’s sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s US attorney, told The Hill via e-mail. “Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”
President Obama revealed that Assange’s supposed surrender promise did not factor into his decision to commute Manning’s sentence. “I don’t pay much attention to Mr. Assange’s tweets, so that wasn’t a consideration,” Obama said.
Manning was an Army intelligence officer who leaked confidential information in 2010 was convicted of espionage. Since her seven-year stay in prison, she has made two suicide attempts. She will be released from prison on 17th May. Manning later issued her own Thanks, Obama:
Thank you @BarackObama for giving me a chance. =,)
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) January 19, 2017