Biden rival pledges to pardon Assange

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US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has pledged to pardon “brave truth-tellers,” including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is presently being imprisoned in a British high security jail awaiting extradition to the United States.

Instead of defending free speech, the United States “actively persecutes journalists and whistleblowers,” Democratic candidate Kennedy tweeted on Tuesday. “We are not in the Soviet Union.” Dissidents are not imprisoned in the America I adore.”

Assange, who was born in Australia, is basically facing a life sentence for his role in the leaks by US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning. After Ecuador revoked his political asylum, allowing police to enter its embassy in London, where he had been holed up for seven years, Assange was arrested in Britain in 2019.

Assange was subsequently sent to Belmarsh jail, which normally houses some of the most dangerous criminals in the UK.

Kennedy, who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2024, said he would pardon both Assange and Manning. The latter was imprisoned in the United States for seven years for leaking troves of confidential information to Wikileaks in 2010, but her sentence was commuted by then-President Barack Obama in 2017.

The US government has accused Assange of inciting and facilitating Manning’s arrest and wants to extradite him to stand justice. Defenders of Assange have argued that his trial would create a dangerous precedent, and that his actions were no different from those of other publishers of sensitive information seeking to protect their sources.

Kennedy mentioned a number of “other brave truth-tellers” who deserve comparable acquittal, including Edward Snowden, who is currently residing in Russia. Rather than prosecuting them, the presidential candidate promised to “investigate the corruption and crimes they exposed.”

Kennedy is one of three candidates who have formally declared their candidacy for the Democratic nomination. According to a recent Fox News poll, while incumbent President Joe Biden is the favorite, Kennedy is polling at 19%, with author Marianne Williamson trailing at 9%.