09:23 GMT +317 November 2019
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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain in this February 5, 2016.

    Assange Lawyer Hopes Trump Presidency Will Resolve Whistleblower’s Situation

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    Melinda Taylor, who led the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention hopes that the Donald Trump administration will bring more protection for Assange and other whistleblowers, she told Radio Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Taylor told Sputnik she hoped the new administration in the US would mean "a fair evaluation of both Mr. Assange’s situation and the real need to protect the media, to protect whistleblowers because of the vital role they play in democracy."

    "I would hope that 2017 and indeed the early months of 2017 will bring a solution for Mr. Assange. And the first solution has to be addressing the US case, that’s the reason why he is detained in the embassy, there is always the risk that he could be prosecuted and mistreated like Ms. Manning," Taylor said.

    The United Kingdom and Sweden should stop proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as they are illegal, she added.

    "The United Kingdom and Sweden refuse to take any steps to implement the [UN Working Group] decision. Basically what they should have done is to stop the proceedings against them because the UN already found that they violated his right to fair proceedings," Taylor stressed.

    The WikiLeaks founder has been residing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 for fear of being extradited to Sweden. Assange denies the rape allegations, claiming they are a ruse organized by Washington to hand him over to the United States where he is wanted for leaking thousands of top-secret military documents.

    In February, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that Assange's de-facto incarceration was arbitrary.

    "Basically, the proceedings against him are illegal, which means that the European arrest warrant should be dropped, which means that he should be able to leave without the constant threat that he could be arrested," Taylor told Sputnik, recalling that "the first Swedish prosecutor who looked into it [case] found that there was no basis to proceed."

    Assange said on Thursday that he stands by his decision to return to the United States after outgoing US President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

    Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year prison sentence on Tuesday. Manning had admitted disclosing classified US government information to WikiLeaks concerning civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes and 250,000 US diplomatic letters.

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