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UN panel formally confirms Assange's arbitrary detention

A UN panel has confirmed its ruling that Julian Assange's lengthy confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London amounts to "arbitrary detention" by Sweden and the UK.

The head of the panel - which is officially titled the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - has called on both countries to respect Mr Assange's "freedom" and allow him to seek compensation.

The WikiLeaks founder, who is wanted for extradition on a rape accusation in Sweden and has lived in the embassy since June 2012, has said he expects to be treated as a free man if the panel ruled in his favour.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on the UK and Sweden to accept the UN ruling and allow him to walk free form the Ecuadorian embassy. Credit: PA Archive

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention.

The Working Group maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.

– UN panel head Seong-Phil Hong

The panel's judgment - which had been leaked a day before its formal announcement - is not legally binding but can be used to apply pressure on states in human rights cases.

Mr Assange filed his complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014, claiming his confinement in the embassy amounted to illegal detention.

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Sweden: UN decision has no impact on Assange case

The UN 's decision to rule that Julian Assange is arbitrarily detained has no formal impact on the investigation under Swedish law, the Swedish Prosecution Authority has told Reuters.

A UN panel has concluded Julian Assange's confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London amounts to illegal detention, Sweden's foreign ministry has said.

The UN judgement is not legally binding but can be used to apply pressure on states in human rights cases.

The WikiLeaks founder is wanted for extradition on a rape accusation in Sweden and has lived in the embassy since June 2012.

UN panel rules Assange is 'arbitrarily detained'

Julian Assange Credit: PA

A UN panel will decide Julian Assange's confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London is "arbitrary detention", Sweden's foreign ministry has said.

The WikiLeaks founder, who is wanted for extradition on a rape accusation in Sweden and has lived in the embassy since June 2012, said earlier Thursday that he expected to be treated as a free man if the panel rules in his favour.

A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed that the UN panel, due to publish its findings on Friday, had concluded that Assange was “arbitrarily detained”.

"We can only note that the working panel has come to another conclusion than Swedish judicial authorities," a ministry spokeswoman told AFP, a day before the panel was to formally publish its report.

In September 2014, Assange filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UNWGAD, claiming his confinement in the embassy amounted to illegal detention.

Their judgment is not legally binding but can be used to apply pressure on states in human rights cases.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Per Samuelsson told AFP that a ruling in his client's favour meant prosecutor Marianne Ny would have to ask a court to lift the arrest warrant issued against him.

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange fears assasination

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fears he may be assassinated if he steps outside the Ecuadorian embassy.

WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange Credit: Reuters

In an interview Mr Assange said he has not had any fresh air or sunlight for three years because it is too dangerous for him to leave the building.

He said "There are security issues with being on the balcony. There have been bomb threats and assassination threats from various people."

Despite believing it is "not likely" that he will be shot, he worries that if he is ever free he could be kidnapped or "droned" by the CIA.

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