U.N. group says Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being arbitrariliy detained

julian assange un report detained ecuadorean embassy mclaughlin_00011105
julian assange un report detained ecuadorean embassy mclaughlin_00011105

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Story highlights

  • U.N. Working Group rules Julian Assange is being unlawfully detained
  • Sweden says a U.N. panel statement "has no formal impact" on its own investigation
  • London police will arrest Assange if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy, official says

London (CNN)A U.N. rights working group found Friday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by being forced to hole up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid arrest.

Assange, who is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offenses, has been in the embassy for three and a half years. He has said he fears Sweden will extradite him to the United States, where he could face the death penalty for revealing government secrets.
    Assange had said in advance of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's announcement Friday that, if the panel found in his favor, he wanted police to return his passport and leave him alone.
    But there is no assurance that will happen. Authorities don't have to listen to him or the U.N. Any judgment by the U.N. working group would be only a "moral recommendation," not legally binding.
    So if Assange steps on that west London sidewalk for the first time since 2012, he is still likely to be arrested in Britain on sex crime charges for alleged crimes in Sweden that date back several years.