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US Congresswoman Gabbard calls for Assange and Snowden to be given presidential pardon

FORMER US presidential candidate and left-leaning congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has reiterated her calls to outgoing US President Donald Trump to pardon whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump issued a presidential pardon to his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

“Since you're giving pardons to people,” Ms Gabbard tweeted at the president on Thursday, “please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.”

The Hawaiian senator urged the US Congress in October to support her proposed legislation to drop the charges against Mr Assange and Mr Snowden and to reform the Espionage Act, which currently does not allow defendants to speak to the intent of their actions.

WikiLeaks publisher Mr Assange has been detained in Belmarsh prison since April 2019 as he fights extradition for exposing US war crimes during the second Iraq war.

Mr Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, has been living in exile in Russia since telling journalists in 2013 of the US government’s illegal gathering of personal data from every single phone call, text and email.

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