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HomeUncategorizedBritain to challenge UN panel on Julian Assange, plans to arrest him

Britain to challenge UN panel on Julian Assange, plans to arrest him

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Britain on Friday said it would contest a United Nations panel opinion that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was a victim of arbitrary detention and said the computer hacker would be arrested if he left the embassy.

Julian Assange-AV

“This changes nothing. We completely reject any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. The UK has already made clear to the UN that we will formally contest the working group’s opinion,” a government spokesman said.

“He is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy,” the spokesman said. “An allegation of rape is still outstanding and a European Arrest Warrant in place, so the UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.”

Assange, a computer hacker who enraged the United States by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid a rape investigation in Sweden.

Both Britain and Sweden denied that Assange was being deprived of freedom, noting he had entered the embassy voluntarily.

Assange, an Australian, appealed to the UN panel, whose decision is not binding, saying he was a political refugee whose rights had been infringed by being unable to take up asylum in Ecuador.

It ruled in his favour, though the decision was not unanimous. Three of the five members on the panel supported a decision in Assange’s favour, with one dissenter and one recusing herself.

“The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,” the group’s head, Seong-Phil Hong, said in a statement.

“(It) maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.”

Assange, 44, denies allegations of a 2010 rape in Sweden, saying the charge is a ploy that would eventually take him to the United States where a criminal investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks is still open.

Sweden said it has no such plans.

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