Julian Assange said Barack Obama only granted Chelsea Manning clemency to spite him
Mr Assange has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 after being faced with extradition but recently promised to leave his sanctuary and face prosecution if the former president lessened Ms Manning’s sentence.
Ms Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, had been sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment for provided WikiLeaks with a huge amount of confidential US documents.
Due to Mr Obama’s granting of clemency, one of his last acts given while president, Ms Manning will now be released in a matter of months rather than the 35 years.
It also means Mr Assange is expected to give himself over to authorities and face prosecution for charges of sexual assault in Sweden – or possibly to the USA.
Julian Assange has been staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012
But now the Australian, who denies the sex allegations, has blasted Mr Obama and claimed he only granted Ms Manning clemency in order to show him up.
Mr Assange said: “What’s the result? It is going to make life hard for Assange because either he will be extradited to the US or we will show him [as] a liar. Therefore, it is OK to pardon Chelsea Manning. That’s what happened.
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“In the end, Barack Obama, wanting I guess to look tough, said that my offer had nothing to do with Chelsea Manning being granted clemency, so there is no quid pro quo.
“We had a major strategic victory in liberating Chelsea Manning. But, of course, saying I’m willing to accept extradition doesn’t mean I’m saying that I’m willing to be a complete idiot and throw all my lawyers away and so on.
Julian Assange believes former president Obama is trying to make his life hard
“We are going to have a discussion with the DoJ about what that looks like. The ball is in their court.”
The US has not brought extradition charges against Mr Assange. Despite this, the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief fears he will be brought to America to face prosecution for his part in the leaks if he leaves his embassy sanctuary.