After proclaiming a victory that shocked many across the world, President-elect Donald Trump is being called upon by several people on social media to grant pardon to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange considering the latter’s role in releasing controversial emails linked to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Assange has been seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. The editor-in-chief of the whistleblower organization is being investigated in the Chelsea Manning case and U.S. authorities have requested for his extradition. He is also facing an arrest warrant over allegations of rape in Sweden and avoiding extradition from a European Arrest Warrant.
During the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from Clinton's private server, the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, inflicting a severe blow on her candidacy. Many are going to the extent of attributing Trump’s win to the loss of faith in Clinton created by the email dump.
Social media is abuzz with netizens proclaiming their support for Assange’s pardon, which many feel is justified under Trump’s presidency.
Australian politician Pauline Hanson, the leader of the country’s right-wing populist party, released a statement requesting Trump to grant pardon to the Australian programmer.
On its official Twitter account, WikiLeaks expressed its gratitude toward all who have been advocating the pardon.
However, Trump and Assange stand on opposite sides when it comes to key issues like the use of internet. While Assange has long fought for the expansion of privacy rights and has strongly opposed the drone strikes and the Guantanamo Bay prison facility, Trump has been vocal about nuclear weapons and “closing down the internet.”
It is also not immediately clear how a U.S. president can grant pardon to Assange when he is actually wanted in Sweden over sexual assault allegations. U.S. authorities have not charged Assange with any crime.