A United Nations panel has officially concluded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been "arbitrarily detained" and should be allowed to walk free. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than three years.
He wants to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crimes allegations, which he has repeatedly denied and for which he has never been charged. He fears Sweden would extradite him to the United States, where he could face trial for WikiLeaks’ revelations.
We air reaction to the U.N. decision from Assange and his attorney, Melinda Taylor, and speak with Mads Andenæs, U.N. special rapporteur on arbitrary detention.
Video and transcript of the interview:
WikiLeaks founder has hailed as “a victory that cannot be denied” the favorable UN panel ruling on his detention, saying that the UK and Sweden have lost at the highest level. The comments came as he appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange warned that if his “illegal, immoral detention” continues despite the decision, those responsible for it in the UK and Sweden will face criminal charges. After exposing corruption at the highest international level for 20 years, Assange said that he expected persecution.
Assange concluded his speech by thanking everybody at the UN, the people and the government of Ecuador, all his supporters worldwide as well as the “good people” in the governments of the UK, Sweden and the US. The whistleblower has been holed up for over three years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after being granted asylum by the country in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations.
Assange filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014 after exhausting all other legal options in the fight to regain freedom.