Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent the last four years living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has pledged to hand himself over to the U.S. authorities, but on one condition: that President Obama grant clemency to imprisoned document leaker, Chelsea Manning.
Manning, formerly known as Bradley, was a U.S. army soldier who was imprisoned in 2013 for leaking some three quarters of a million classified and secretive documents to Wikileaks. Since then he’s been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and was recently granted the right to go through gender reassignment surgery after sustaining a hunger strike and attempting to end her own life.
Manning is facing a total of 35 years in prison, but Assange is now hoping to change that with his offer. As the DailyDot points out, there is no real indication that Obama would agree with the offer, but since Assange is likely thought to be a bigger fish than Manning, it’s not impossible.
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
The reasoning for this sudden offer isn’t exactly clear, but could be related to Manning’s future. While the years of jail time are no picnic, a recent charge of resisting a cell move and being “threatening,” to prison staff could land her with a further nine years in jail, as well as punishments like solitary confinement or a move to a maximum security facility.
Manning has also received support from many people around the U.S. Last month a petition of over 100,000 signatures was delivering to the Secretary of the Army, demanding her release.
The question remains though, what kind of treatment could Assange expect if he were to have his offer accepted? You would imagine it would be comparable or worse than Manning’s, even as a higher profile individual.
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KitGuru Says: This seems like a very generous offer for Assange, but considering he doesn’t seem likely to be able to leave the Ecuadorian embassy for some time, he doesn’t have a lot of options.
Image source: Wikimedia