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UN Panel rules Julian Assange must be freed, given liberty, money

The United Kingdom and Sweden must end the detention of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, a United Nations panel has ruled. Not only must both governments allow him to walk from his asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but they must respect his right to free movement and liberty and even provide him with monetary compensation for the past few years.

In 2012 Julian Assange faced extradition to Sweden on as part of a sexual assault and rape investigation, which he claimed were false and designed to allow him to be extradited again to the United States to face charges related to the leaking of documents through Wikileaks. So he sought asylum within the Ecuadorian embassy and has been there ever since.

assange

Source: Cancillería del Ecuador/Flickr

The UN panel initially ruled that Assange was arbitrarily detained earlier this year, but the UK government appealed it. Having now confirmed its decision, the United Nations will expect the British government to allow Assange to walk free, without fear of arrest. It will also expect Sweden to drop the charges against him.

While the UN resolution isn’t binding, it would be difficult for the UK to ignore its recommendations, but in the future request its support in enforcing human rights law elsewhere in the world. It would also weaken the perceived influence of the United Nations when it comes to making rulings elsewhere.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fcw3SKVRUbM’]

“Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free,” Assange said in a statement. “It is an obvious and grotesque injustice to detain someone for six years who hasn’t even been charged with an offence.”

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KitGuru Says: This should be an interesting test of how isolationist the UK is trying to become. Will it let him free? How will it respond once he’s able to wander around? 

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