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'I stand by everything I said': Assange keeps pledge to travel to the US

If he travels outside of this jurisdiction, it’s likely that Assange will be charged by the US for the 2010 documents leak.

Image: Dominic Lipinski

WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN Assange has confirmed that he will travel to the US if Chelsea Manning’s sentence is commuted, after some skepticism that he was going back on his word.

Last week Assange pledged to abandon his refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been since 2012, if the United States agreed to free Manning.

If he travels outside of this jurisdiction, it’s likely that Assange will be charged for the 2010 documents leak, although no charges have been publicly filed against him.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years behind bars in 2013 for handing 700,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks – but this week that sentence was dramatically cut by outgoing President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday night Obama announced that he was commuting the sentence of US army whistleblower Manning – meaning she would be released in May of this year.

Asked during a web broadcast tonight if he would now leave the embassy, Assange said: “I stand by everything I said, including the offer to go to the United States if Chelsea Manning’s sentence was commuted.”

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Legal uncertainty

One of the Australian’s lawyers, Melinda Taylor, told AFP yesterday 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.

With reporting from AFP

Read: Assange says he will travel to the US – if his rights are ‘guaranteed’

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