Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has moved to support WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying that
"he deserves a pardon".
In a YouTube video on Saturday, Palin admitted to making a mistake "some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange, thinking that he was a bad guy, that he leaked material that perhaps he shouldn't".
In 2008, WikiLeaks exposed an array of Palin's private messages, and government emails obtained from her Yahoo.com account, prompting the ex-Alaska governor to wonder why Assange had not been pursued with the same urgency as al-Qaeda* and Taliban* leaders. She, however, publicly apologised to Assange via Facebook in 2017, lauding him for opening "people's eyes to Democrat candidates and operatives".
In the Saturday video, Palin referred to the WikiLeaks founder working "on the people's behalf to allow information to get to us so that we could make up our minds about different issues, about different people".
She specifically underscored that Assange should also be recognised for what "he has done in the name of real journalism, and that's getting to the bottom of issues that the public really needs to hear about and benefit from".
"He did the right thing. 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", the former Republican vice presidential candidate concluded.
Public Figures Join Campaign to Have Assange Pardoned
Palin is the latest public person to urge Trump to pardon Assange, who is currently jailed in a UK prison and awaiting the results of his extradition trial.
On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson joined the chorus of voices calling for an Assange pardon, arguing during his programme that the WikiLeaks founder had engaged in nothing more than regular journalism by providing important information to WikiLeaks' readers.
"Whatever you think of Julian Assange and what he did, he is effectively a journalist. He took information and he put it in a place the public could read it", Tucker said.
In the past few weeks, American actress and model Pamela Anderson, US whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as US Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard and Australian MP George Christensen have issued similar calls seeking to convince Trump to let Assange off the US hook.
US v. Assange
The WikiLeaks founder faces a possible 175-year prison sentence, accused by the United States of violating the Espionage Act through "unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence".
The White House turns a blind eye to the protests from human rights activists and the public, who consider Assange's prosecution an attack on journalism and free speech.
*al-Qaeda, Taliban, terrorist groups banned in Russia and a number of other countries