Sunday 8 December 2019

Assange reaffirms offer to travel to US after Manning's release

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Chelsea Manning

Alan Jones in London

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands by his offer to go to the United States now that Chelsea Manning is being released, he told a press conference yesterday.

Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London via social media, he signalled there would be "many discussions" on his future before Manning left prison in May.

He welcomed Barack Obama's decision to free the former soldier jailed for handing over classified documents to the anti-secrecy organisation.

The outgoing US president used his final hours to allow Manning to go free nearly 30 years early.

The transgender former intelligence analyst (inset), born Bradley Manning, said she had passed on government and military documents to raise awareness about the impact of war. Manning has thanked Obama "for giving me a chance".

Mr Assange, who has been living at the embassy since the summer of 2012 for fear of being extradited to the US to be questioned over the activities of WikiLeaks, praised campaigners for their role in the decision.

"I stand by everything I said, including the offer to go to the US if Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted. It is not going to be commuted until May - we can have many discussions to that point. I have always been willing to go to the US provided my rights are respected," he said when asked whether he would leave the embassy.

Asked if he would receive different treatment under president-elect Donald Trump, Mr Assange said: "It remains to be seen."

Irish Independent

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