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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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