Assange: On Second Thought, Extradition a No-Go

Assange's lawyer says WikiLeaks founder wanted full clemency for Chelsea Manning
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2017 1:00 PM CST
Assange: On Second Thought, Extradition a No-Go
Despite Chelsea Manning's pending freedom, don't expect to see Julian Assange in the US anytime soon.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

On second thought, Julian Assange won't be traveling to the US after all. Back in September, the WikiLeaks founder had said he would agree to extradition to the US if Chelsea Manning was pardoned, the Hill reports. Well, on Tuesday President Obama commuted the majority of Manning's 35-year sentence, and she'll be released in May. According to the Huffington Post, Assange lawyer Melinda Taylor originally said Assange would stand by his word and open himself up to extradition, but that no longer appears to be the case. A different lawyer, Barry Pollack, tells the Hill that commuting Manning's sentence isn't the same as a pardon. Pollack says Assange had wanted clemency and an immediate release for Manning, calling the commutation "well short of what he sought."

At any rate, the White House says the possibility of extraditing Assange, who's holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London while facing sexual assault charges in Sweden, played no part in the decision to commute Manning's sentence. In fact, the US hasn't requested extradition, nor had it charged Assange with any crime (though Assange's lawyers believe charges may be being kept secret). Manning was arrested in 2010 after giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, the International Business Times reports. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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