The United Nations has ruled that Julian Assange is being unlawfully detained and should be compensated by the United Kingdom. Three of the five members of the Working Group for Arbitrary Detainment decided that nine out of 10 human rights articles had been violated.
Assange had previously complained to the UN for his treatment and detainment. He argued that he was forced to remain in the Ecuadorian embassy in London due to an arrest warrant in his name. If he left, the Metropolitan police would arrest him and he would be extradited to Sweden. From there, he feared that he would be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted for his involvement in the Wikileaks website.
The Australian is the founder of Wikileaks, which shared confidential and classified information, including videos and documents from the U.S. government and military. While some members of the public approved his actions, saying that he was just the messenger, others argue that he acted unlawfully and that two wrongs do not make a right.
According to the Telegraph, Julian became a household name around the world due to the release of numerous military videos. One of those involved unarmed Iraqis being shot and killed by U.S. Apaches. The U.S. foreign policy was shown in a negative light, and the founder of the site became a target for the U.S. government.
— Swingin_Dick (@Lifeson90) February 5, 2016
@SkyNewsBreak but he’s not being detained. He’s free to leave. Will then be detained on suspicion of rape, as he should be!
— Dave Waller (@DaveWaller43) February 5, 2016
His decision to seek refuge in the embassy was primarily not due to Wikileaks. He was wanted for questioning by Swedish authorities over a sexual assault case, one that he had consistently denied his guilt for since initial questioning in 2010. He sought refuge in June 2012 after fleeing bail and has remained in the Ecuadorian embassy ever since.
The Metropolitan police kept a 24/7 watch for Julian Assange at first but decided to scale that back. It did confirm that every effort would be made to arrest him if he ever stepped outside the embassy. He cannot be arrested inside the embassy, as he is not on British soil.
Due to this threat, Assange believes that he is unable to leave the embassy and, therefore, is being unlawfully detained. The United Nations agrees with this and says that he should be allowed to leave. Nine out of 10 human rights articles are being broken due to the British arrest threat. At the same time, the UN has ruled that Assange has broken four articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to the Independent.
— Philip Hammond (@PHammondMP) February 5, 2016
Wikileaks founder Julian #Assange has criticised govt for “insulting” response to UN ruling that detention in Ecuadorian embassy is unlawful
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) February 5, 2016
The UK government has said it will not compensate Assange yet. It believes that the 43-year-old voluntarily placed himself in the embassy, knowing that he would not be allowed to leave. The arrest warrant still stands at the moment.
Assange said that he would leave the embassy and allow himself to be arrested if the UN ruled against him. However, he expected the arrest warrant to be dropped and his passport returned if the UN ruled in his favor. So far, neither have happened, despite the UN ruling that he should be compensated for his unlawful detainment.
@SkyNewsBreak Mr. Assange forgets that govts pick & choose which UN rulings to comply with or ignore.
— Stella (@stellakibazo) February 5, 2016
@SkyNewsBreak not quite so insulting as hiding away from an allegation of rape. If me and if innocent, I’d fight to clear my name.
— SimplyFlip (@SimplyFlip) February 5, 2016
Unfortunately for Assange, the UN’s Working Group ruling has no legal binding on the British government. It can continue to keep the arrest warrant in place and is under no obligation to follow the recommendations. The Swedish authorities are also under no obligation to drop any charges or avoid extraditing him to the United States if he is arrested and a formal request made.
While three members of the panel ruled in favor of Assange, one did rule against him. The Australian panel member — the fifth and final member — decided to stand down from the investigations and had no impact on the decision on Julian Assange’s detainment.
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