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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.



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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