09:09 GMT23 January 2021
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    Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, 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.”

    Edward Snowden, who, similar to Assange, faces accusations in the US of violating the Espionage Act, took to Twitter on Friday to call for clemency for the founder of WikiLeaks, asking US President Donald Trump to grant pardon for 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. @realDonaldTrump", Snowden tweeted.

    Assange could face up to 175 years in prison if he is extradited to the US and convicted of charges of breaching the Espionage Act. The WikiLeaks founder is accused of disclosing classified documents and conspiring to hack government computers.

    Snowden appeared to not be alone in calls for Trump to pardon Assange, as he was joined, among others, by American film director Oliver Stone, who has sought clemency for both whistleblowers.

    "A pardon of @Snowden and #Assange would be a great shock to this world, and reflect well on @realDonaldTrump. Despite all the negatives he’s created, it will be seen as a purely merciful action. It will not be forgotten", Stone tweeted earlier in the week.

    Stone was joined by Stella Moris, Assange's partner, who took to Twitter to plead that Trump "bring him home for Christmas".

    ​Hearings regarding Assange's potential extradition to the United States started in February and were initially scheduled to continue in May, but were later postponed to September. His legal team has repeatedly called for him to be granted bail, citing the risk of Assange contracting COVID-19, with preexisting conditions of respiratory and heart problems.

    Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong and sought asylum in Moscow after being accused of violating the Espionage Act through his release of classified documents on illegal US surveillance programs. Last month, Snowden announced that he and his wife were seeking Russian citizenship.

    In September, when asked about the possibility of pardoning Snowden, Trump said that he would "take a very good look at it".


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