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Is WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reneging on promise to face extradition to US?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link at a news conference. (AP/Markus Schreiber)

Less than 24 hours after the official WikiLeaks Twitter account declared that founder Julian Assange would honor his promise to face extradition to the United States in exchange for Army Pvt. Bradley Manning's pardon, Assange's lawyers have declared that Assange is not so willing to honor his promise after all. According to The Hill, Assange's lawyers stated in an email that Obama's decision to commute all but five months of the 35 years remaining on Manning's sentence was not sufficient for Assange to honor his side of the bargain:

“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. [sic] 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 U.S.-based attorney, via email.

“Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”

Assange has not been publicly charged with a crime in the United States, but his legal team believes he may be charged “under seal,” where charges are kept secret to prevent a suspect from preparing an escape.

Assange is currently facing actual or potential criminal charges in a number of countries, including Sweden and the United States. He is currently housed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been granted asylum by the Ecuadorian government. Assange is rumored to have sought asylum in other countries, including France, last year, especially after the Ecuadorian government shut off his Internet access in response to accusations that WikiLeaks was influencing the United States election on behalf of Russia.

The White House has denied that Manning's pardon was in any way intended to cause Assange to surrender himself for extradition to the United States.

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