LONDON: WikiLeaks said on Wednesday its founder Julian Assange could travel to the US to face investigation after one of the whistleblowing site’s main sources was given clemency — but only if his rights were “guaranteed”.
“Assange is still happy to come to the US provided all his rights are guaranteed,” WikiLeaks said on Twitter, the day after US President Barack Obama commuted a prison sentence for former soldier Chelsea Manning.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years behind bars in 2013 for handing 700,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.
Assange said last week he would abandon his refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where he has been since 2012, if the United States agreed to free Manning.
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
Washington has maintained the threat of prosecuting Assange over the 2010 documents leak, although no charges have been publicly filed.
One of the Australian’s lawyers, Melinda Taylor, told AFP on Tuesday that it had failed to obtain confirmation on his legal status.
“Julian’s US lawyers have repeatedly asked the Department of Justice to clarify Julian Assange’s status and would like them to do so now by announcing it is closing the investigation and pursuing no charges,” she said.
Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, which he says are politically motivated and intended as a stepping stone to extradite him to the US.