Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not agree to extradition following the commutation of the bulk of Chelsea Manning’s sentence by President Obama.
Assange had promised to submit should Obama “grant Manning clemency.”
If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange — despite its clear unlawfulness https://t.co/MZU30S3Eia
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 15, 2016
His legal team at first said that Assange stood by his commitment.
Melinda Taylor, who serves on Assange’s legal team, said he would not be going back on his word. “Everything that he has said he’s standing by,” she told the Associated Press.
The WikiLeaks Twitter accounted also tweeted:
Assange is confident of winning any fair trial in the US. Obama's DoJ prevented public interest defense & fair jury. https://t.co/Mb6gXlz7QS
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 17, 2017
The Hill reported something quite different on Wednesday morning, a statement from another member of Assange’s legal team, saying Obama’s commutation did not go far enough:
“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,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S.-based attorney, via email. “Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”
Wikileaks tweeted this on Wednesday morning:
Assange is still happy to come to the US provided all his rights are guarenteed despite White House now saying Manning was not quid-quo-pro.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 18, 2017
The White House insisted on Tuesday that Assange’s offer to submit to extradition if Obama “grants Manning clemency” did not influence the US president’s action.
“The president’s decision to offer commutation was not influenced by public comments by Mr Assange or the WikiLeaks organisation,” the White House official said. “I have no insight into Mr Assange’s travel plans. I can’t speak to any charges or potential charges he may be facing from the justice department.”