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Wikileaks' Julian Assange 'Stands By Offer To Go To USA' Now Chelsea Manning Is Being Released

19/01/2017 18:20 GMT | Updated 19/01/2017 20:21 GMT

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stands by his offer to go to the USA now that Chelsea Manning is being released, he has told a press conference.

Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012, said the leaker’s early release meant he would stand by his earlier pledge.

Assange sought asylum in Ecuador, resisting extradition to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual offences there.

He said he feared it would lead to his extradition to the US over leaks by Wikileaks.

But as the prospect of Barack Obama giving Manning clemency before he left office grew, Assange said he would allow himself to be extradited there.

This follows earlier comments by his lawyers that raised doubts on whether he would surrender himself. They said Manning was not being released fast enough.

Manning, a US Army soldier, disclosed to Wikileaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents.

She was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offences and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in February 2016
Mike Kemp via Getty Images
A demonstration in favour of Chelsea Manning's release in London

Obama commuted her sentenced, meaning she will now be released in May rather than 2045.

The US has not attempted to extradite Assange but he believes it may be being kept secret.

At the press conference on Thursday, he said: “There’s either a deliberate attempt by the Department of Justice to keep me and WikiLeaks in a state of uncertainty, abusing the process for psychological gains and refusing to confirm or deny whether they have issued some request, but saying that the pending proceedings continue, or there is a sealed indictment and it is an offence for any official to reveal a sealed indictment.”

But he did not address directly whether he would go to Sweden, despite his previous refusal being solely due to the supposed risk of being extradited from there to the US.