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Julian Assange being arbitrarily detained, rules UN Panel

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 Feb 2016 12:00 AM GMT

London, Feb 4: A United tions panel has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been unlawfully detained at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to reports.

Reports said the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has come to its decision but a warrant for his arrest remains in place. The ruling could pave the way for Assange to leave the embassy without the risk of arrest for the first time in almost four years.

Assange first sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy after he was accused of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion by two women in Stockholm in 2010.

No charges have ever been brought against him and the Australian tiol claims the accusations are part of a conspiracy to force his extradition to the U.S. in order for him to face charges over leaking secret government documents through the WikiLeaks organization. Meanwhile, the Wikileaks founder has said he will turn himself over to the police here on Friday if a UN panel rules he has not been unlawfully detained.

Australian tiol Assange was origilly arrested in London in 2010 under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Sweden over a sexual assault claim he denies.

He was granted asylum by Ecuador and entered the country's embassy in London after the British Supreme Court ruled the extradition against him could go ahead, BBC reported.

In 2014 he complained to the UN that he was being "arbitrarily detained".

On Twitter, Assange said he would accept a decision against him but hoped to walk free if it went in his favour.

"Should the UN announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United Kingdom and Sweden I shall exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal."

"However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect the immediate return of my passport and the termition of further attempts to arrest me," he added.

Last October, Scotland Yard said it would no longer station officers outside the Ecuador embassy following an operation which had cost it 12 million pounds ($17 million).

But it said "a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him" would be deployed to arrest Assange.

In December 2015, Swedish officials said they were optimistic about reaching an agreement with Ecuador which could pave the way for the questioning of Assange in London.

Wikileaks posted secret American government documents on the internet and Assange said he believes Washington will seek his transfer to the US if he is sent to Sweden.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said on Thursday that if Mr. Assange leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London he will be arrested.

The spokesman said that any decision by a United tions panel that is examining Mr. Assange's appeal would not be legally binding and that an arrest warrant for Assange would be put into effect if he left the embassy.

The Australian, who jumped bail to take refuge in the embassy, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape in 2010, which he denies.


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