Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor charged with espionage in 2013, on Thursday urged President Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life,” Snowden wrote in a tweet, tagging Trump.
– Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 3, 2020
Snowden, an American whistleblower, who copied and released highly classified documents on surveillance programs from the National Security Agency in 2013, fled to Hong Kong, and later to Moscow, to seek asylum. He tweeted last month that he and his wife were applying for Russian citizenship.
Julian Assange has been in United Kingdom Belmarsh prison since 2019, when he was arrested and physically pulled out of Loudon’s Ecuadorian embassy in the English capital. He sought political asylum from Ecuador in the 2012 and stayed inside the country’s embassy for seven years.
Assange is charged in the U.S. with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information and several other charges related to his access and publication of U.S. diplomatic cables, military documents and other secret information.
Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison if convicted of charges of conspiring to hack government computers and for violating the 1917 Espionage Act for “unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defense.”
The London judge overseeing Assange’s extradition trial said in October that she would be releasing a judgement in the case in early January, with January 4, 2021 being the last date scheduled, according to last records found.
Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, has also previously called on Trump to pardon the controversial figure, tweeting a photo on Thanksgiving of their two young children and writing, “They need their father. Our family needs to be whole again.””I beg you, please bring him home for Christmas@realDonaldTrump,” she added.
In September, The Associated Press reported that Jennifer Robinson, one of Assange’s lawyers, told a London court that her client was indirectly offered a “win-win” deal by Trump that would have allowed him to avoid extradition to the U.S. if he revealed the source of leaked documents from the Democratic Party before the 2016 election.
Assange did not reveal the source of the documents, according to the AP.