Julian Assange Deserves Compensation for Arbitrary Detainment, Says UN

By Gerald Lynch on at

Julian Assange is being arbitrarily detained by UK and Swedish authorities at the Ecuadorian embassy. That's what a report published today by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found after looking into the circumstances of the wikiLeaks' founder's unofficial house arrest in London.

Living at the embassy since 2012, Assange would be arrested by British authorities should he leave the complex due to allegations of rape in Sweden, and could face extradition to the US over WikiLeaks' publication of the Afghan war diary and US diplomatic cables.

Though Assange's depravation of liberty is worthy of compensation, according to the panel, prosecutors in Sweden have stated the UN's decision makes "no formal impact" on their investigations, and UK police may still arrest him.

A spokesman for Downing Street countered the report:

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," said the spokesman.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden."

Assange had stated that he would hand himself over to the relevant authorities should the UN panel rule against him, believing it would leave him in a position with "no meaningful prospect of further appeal." However, in that same statement given earlier this week, Assange stated that he would "expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me," should the UN rule in his favour. Assange is expected to give a press conference later today, which should shed light on his plans going forward.