Julian Assange has essentially been a hostage since Wikileaks blew up and he was forced to seek asylum in London to escape arrest; and today a UN panel delivered a ruling that validates his claims that he is being held illegally.
The UN’s working group on Arbitrary Detention has found that he is being ‘arbitrarily held’, after studying the merits of the case. Assange made the complaint and requested the hearing in 2014.
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past four years, after he faced extradition to Sweden on charges of s*xual assault, forcing him to seek asylum. But he cannot come out as Britain is obligated to arrest him and extradite him.
Assange denies the allegations against him, and the UN ruling bolsters his case. He plans to use it to push for the return of his documents and to seek guarantees he would not be arrested should he choose to leave the embassy. The ruling is not binding though, so the UK can and most likely would choose to ignore it.
As the BBC reported, a government spokesman confirmed their position, and that the ruling should not change it.
“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,”
Prior to the ruling, Assange had announced that he would give himself up for arrest if the panel ruled against him. The full ruling would be delivered on Friday, February 5.