Assange's Lawyer Provides An "Out": Says Conditions Not Met For Extradition Deal
After a January 12th tweet from WikiLeaks saying that Assange would agree to be extradited to the U.S. if the Obama administration granted "clemency" to Chelsea Manning, attorneys for Assange seem to be backtracking today on an alleged technicality.
Here was the "official offer" from WikiLeaks:
But, according to new comments today from his U.S. attorney, the offer from Assange implicitly required an immediate release of Chelsea Manning. Therefore, at least according to Assange's attorney, Obama's decision to release Manning from his 35-year sentence in "May" is "well short of what he sought." Per The Hill:
“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning's sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s United State’s attorney.
“Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”
Now, without passing judgement on the merits of the DOJ case against Assange, and while we're not ones to split hairs, the tweet above doesn't reference an immediate release and neither does any definition of "clemency" to our knowledge. Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, clemency is defined simply as follows:
1. disposition to be merciful and especially to moderate the severity of punishment due
2. an act or instance of leniency
Then came the following tweet from WikiLeaks saying that "Assange is still happy to come to the US" on the condition that "all his rights are guaranteed"...a condition that we suspect will never be met to the complete satisfaction of Assange's attorneys.
Of course, comments from Assange and his attorneys today seem to offer a very different tone from WikiLeaks' initial tweets yesterday which celebrated the commutation of Manning's sentence and confirmed that Assange was "standing by" his proposed "extradition 'deal'".
Something tells us Assange will not be visiting the U.S. anytime in the near future.