Pressure mounts on Assange to allow US extradition

PRESSURE is mounting on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to allow his extradition to the US following President Barack Obama's decision yesterday to reduce the sentence of a former soldier jailed in 2013 for leaking classified documents to the whistleblower organisation.

With his tenure in the White House finishing on Saturday (AEST), Mr Obama cut Manning's sentence by almost 30 years.

Born Bradley Manning, the transgender former intelligence analyst passed on almost 750,000 secret or sensitive documents, embarrassing the US.

Mr Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than four years, fearing extradition to the US if Britain extradites him to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. He welcomed Manning's clemency but said she "should never have been convicted".

"Ms Manning is a hero, whose bravery should have been applauded not condemned," he said in a statement.

"Journalists, publishers, and their sources serve the public interest and promote democracy by distributing authentic information on key matters such as human rights abuses, and illegal acts by government officials.

"Government should immediately end its war on whistleblowers and publishers, such as WikiLeaks and myself."

Ms Manning, who twice tried to kill herself last year, was among 273 people to either be pardoned or receive a sentence reduction. She will be released in May.


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