Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, where he is waiting for the statute of limitations on a rape allegation to expire.
Though the allegations that have been leveled against him are in Sweden, Assange fears that if he turns himself in, he will be extradited to the United States and will face charges of espionage. His site, WikiLeaks, has published a number of documents provided by whistle-blowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, as well as the emails obtained in the Democratic National Convention hack.
Assange maintains that the DNC documents were not provided by Russia or any “state actor,” but high ranking intelligence and military officials have claimed that WikiLeaks publication of certain documents put American lives at risk.
The Australian-born hacker was one of the loudest voices in calling for the release of Manning, whose sentence was commuted by President Obama on Tuesday evening. In 2013, on the first day of Manning’s trial, Assange published a statement saying Manning was being charged with “the alleged crime of telling the truth” and “is accused of being a whistleblower, a good man, who cared for others and who followed higher orders.”
Assange claimed that he would allow himself to be extradited to the United States if Manning were set free. He appears to be standing by that statement and has said that he’s confident he will prevail in court.
It’s important to note that Manning will not be released until May — she is not being pardoned; her sentence is being commuted.
According to the Associated Press, Assange’s attorney said his firm has asked the Justice Department to “clarify his status” several times. He also said that “the Department of Justice should not pursue any charges against Mr. Assange based on his publication of truthful information and should close its criminal investigation of him immediately.”