It’s 1,934 days since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asked for asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London – now the UK has made a formal appeal against a UN judgement last month that found he is being “arbitrarily and unlawfully detained.”
Officials responded to the “inaccurate” opinion of the UN Working Group, which was established via a 16-month investigation, that he should be released and compensated by saying:
Julian Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK, and is in fact voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean Embassy. The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.
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Assange maintains that if he were to go to Sweden to face allegations of sexual offenses, he risks extradition to the United States for his publishing activities with WikiLeaks.
The UN Working Group’s opinion is not a legal judgement – but its view is taken seriously as a measure of good, or indeed bad, geopolitical behavior – so the UK government is hoping this response will influence the next meeting in April.
➤ UK submits response to UN Working Group on Assange case [Foreign and Commonwealth Office]