'Assange's case must go to UN'

Quito, March 17: Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino has said the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012, should be referred to the UN Human Rights Council. “I think the matter is going to have to be referred there, as it cannot continue the way it is,” said the minister on Monday, emphasising that “it cannot be that someone is deprived of his human rights for so long and now he is told simply” that there is ultimately no case against him. The minister spoke to the media about the new position taken by Swedish prosecutors, who agreed on Friday to question Assange in London over four rape and sexual assault allegations, Efe news agency reported.

A preventive detention order was issued against Assange in absentia in 2010 in Sweden, and he has remained several years in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition from Britain to Sweden for questioning over the allegations.

Assange has denied the accusations and argues that his extradition to Sweden could lead to extradition to the US where he could face a death sentence for releasing thousands of confidential diplomatic documents through the Wikileaks website. Patino reiterated that the Ecuadorian government had proposed long ago that Assange be questioned at the embassy.

However, instead of being questioned, the whistleblower was isolated from the judicial process, the minister said. According to Patino, the London embassy has facilities to provide for the stay of the Wikileaks founder, who enjoys boxing and ballgames within the diplomatic offices. (IANS)

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