National Security

Assange Wants To Negotiate Terms Before Agreeing To Extradition, Attorney Says

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wants to negotiate with U.S. authorities before he can agrees to extradition, his attorney said Wednesday, despite a recent pledge that he would turn himself over if President Barack Obama granted clemency to Chelsea Manning.

Obama surprisingly commuted Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for espionage Tuesday, just days after WikiLeaks made the pledge.

Assange’s Australian attorney, Melinda Taylor, issued a statement shortly after saying Assange stands by his words. WikiLeaks further said it was “confident of winning any fair trial” in the U.S. (RELATED: Chelsea Manning Commutation Tests Julian Assange’s Extradition Pledge)

“Everything that he has said he’s standing by,” Taylor said in a statement through WikiLeaks.

Per E Samuelson, Assange’s Swedish attorney, clarified that negotiations will have to take place before his client agrees to extradition.

The Swedish government has a pending extradition request over alleged sexual assaults against two women in 2010.

“The U.S. is not saying Manning didn’t commit a crime,” Samuelson told Swedish news agency TT. “Assange can for that reason not trust that it won’t charge him.”

Samuelson said Assange would agree to go to Sweden to face his charges, but only after the U.S. agrees to drops its investigation.

“He’s open to negotiations. He awaits an initiative from the U.S. side,” Samuelson said. “He welcomes [Obama’s] decision and he is happy for Chelsea Manning. He things it should have happened sooner, during Obama’s first term as president.”

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