On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder and international man of mystery Julian Assange said if the United States grants clemency to Chelsea Manning, he would be willing to surrender to U.S. authorities. But Assange’s offer, as expressed through the WikiLeaks Twitter account, made his thoughts known on what he sees as the “clear unlawfulness” of the matter.
Manning, a former U.S. army private, is currently serving 35 years in prison after being convicted on multiple counts of espionage for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks. Most recently, the media reports that Manning reportedly attempted suicide earlier this year and began a hunger strike, and the military subsequently agreed to grant Manning’s gender reassignment surgery request.
The timing of Assange’s declaration seems a little suspect. He’s currently living in political asylum at the London-based Ecuadorian embassy and facing renewed scrutiny, and NBC News reports how a Swedish appeals court won’t drop a warrant for Assange on a 2010 rape allegation. Under the Swedish statute of limitations, this allegation would expire in 2020, and Assange has appeared content to wait things out.
It is not known if the U.S. will take up Assange on his offer or even if Assange is honest in his willingness to give himself up.