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Sarah Palin calls for Julian Assange to be pardoned, despite her being targeted by Wikileaks in 2008

‘He did the right thing and I support him’

James Crump
Monday 21 December 2020 16:35 GMT
Julian Assange speaks out

Sarah Palin has called for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be pardoned, despite being one of the whistleblower site’s most well-known victims.

Ms Palin, 56, the former governor of Alaska, published a video on YouTube and far-right new website The Gateway Pundit on Saturday, asking for Assange, 49, to be pardoned.

“I am the first one to admit when I make a mistake and I admit that I made a mistake some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange, thinking that he was a bad guy,” she said during the two-minute video on Saturday.

“I've learned a lot since then” Ms Palin continued, adding: “He deserves a pardon.”

Just weeks after Ms Palin was announced as former Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate for the 2008 election, Wikileaks leaked her private messages and photos, alongside government emails from her Yahoo! account.

Speaking about the incident at the time, Ms Palin questioned why Assange had not been pursued with the same urgency as Taliban leaders, according to Business Insider.

However, Ms Palin apologised to Assange in 2017, after Wikileaks published private emails from then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta in the final weeks of the 2016 election.

“This important information that finally opened people's eyes to Democrat candidates and operatives would not have been exposed were it not for Julian Assange.” she wrote in 2017, adding: “Julian, I apologise.”

In Saturday’s video, Ms Palin said she wants more people to learn about Assange, “as he has been working on the people's behalf to allow information to get to us so we could make up our minds about different issues of different people”.

She added: “He did the right thing and I support him. And I hope that more and more people, especially as it comes down to the wire, will speak up in support of pardoning Julian. God bless him.”

Ms Palin’s comments came after both model and actress Pamela Anderson and Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard called for Assange to be pardoned in the last month.

Assange co-founded Wikileaks in 2006 but rose to prominence in 2010 when he released sensitive military material passed to him by then US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Assange was arrested in London in April 2019 after after seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than six years.

He has been jailed at Belmarsh prison for the past 19 months as he fights extradition to the US. He faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison if convicted on conspiracy and espionage charges.

According to the New York Post, Mr Trump, who praised Mr Assange during the 2016 national election, is deliberating whether to pardon him before he leaves office on 20 January.

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