UN panel says that Julian Assange has been kept in ‘arbitrary detention’

The Guardian is reporting that Julian Assange’s three and a half years holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London constitutes “arbitrary detention”. The official report is to be released tomorrow though the British and Swedish governments were informed two weeks ago. Assange’s lawyers are already calling for him to be allowed to leave the embassy without the threat of extradition to the US hanging over him.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, said if the working group found in his favour, “there is only one solution for Marianne Ny [the Swedish prosecutor seeking Assange’s extradition], and that is to immediately release him and drop the case”. Samuelson added: “If he is regarded as detained, that means he has served his time, so I see no other option for Sweden but to close the case.”

Assange’s lawyers also demanded assurances from the UK that he would not be arrested and subjected to potential extradition to face potential prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publishing activities.

In a statement issued by WikiLeaks on Twitter, Assange said he would voluntarily walk out of the embassy on Friday and accept arrest “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 termination of further attempts to arrest me.”

Neither Sweden nor the UK will be compelled to take any action, but a source familiar with the working group said that if the governments choose to ignore the decision, it could make it difficult for them in future to bring pressure on other countries over human rights violations.

The big problem is the US. They have never forgiven Assange, Wikileaks, and Chelsea Manning for exposing their abuses and the cold-blooded way they murdered civilians in Iraq and then lied about it. That video Collateral Murder of the murders that took place in 2007 is as sickening to see now as it was when it was first released in 2010.

The Obama administration has shown itself to be as ruthless and vindictive as Bush and Cheney when it comes to maintaining secrecy about its abuses. This detailed report of two events (thanks to reader Marcus) shows how the US government and its allies still exonerates itself from charges of murdering civilians by conducting phony ‘investigations’


  1. Holms says

    Oh yes, another example of that good old ‘unprecedented care’ against causing civilian casualties the Israelis took to heart.

  2. says

    It’s amazing the lengths they’ll go to capture and ruin Manning, Assange, Klein, Binney, etc, etc — but for some reason they can’t apply that level of effort to figuring out who ordered an AC-130 to blow the living crap out of a hospital, or who approved the cost overruns on the littoral fighting vessel that cost $350m and is a floating scrapyard. When government’s priority switches away from doing stuff to covering its mistakes, you know you’re in for a bloat-to-collapse situation.

  3. says

    Remember, too, when people get in your face and say “it’s your duty to vote for the lesser of two evils” — that is what you are voting for.

  4. Who Cares says

    Who says that what is happening to the littoral fighting vessel (or the F-35 or the supply of materials the armed forces say that don’t need, etc.) is a mistake?
    Seems that the program is doing exactly what it is designed to so, right?

  5. says

    The US has shown itself to be as much a liar about “doing the right thing” (starting with painting a target on Joe Darby’s back, then Bunnatine Greenhouse, then Ehren Watada, et al) as it is about “self investigation. There’s always Tor browser if heroes like Manning want to post leaks anonymously.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    The big problem is the US.

    No, it isn’t. Assange claims that he’s more likely to be extradited from Sweden to the USA than the UK, but has provided no evidence for that claim, nor for the claim that his accuser is an American stooge. He’s suspected of rape in Sweden, which country he has referred to as “the Saudi Arabia of feminism”. The fact that he has done great service to the cause of openness in his work for wikileaks does not mean he should not face trial for an alleged rape.

  7. Holms says

    On thinking about this further, it strikes me as odd that a person voluntarily living in a legally unassailable place -- an embassy -- in order to gain immunity to an extradition is hardly imprisonment. All he has to do is step out; claiming that the extradition is spurious isn’t a defense.

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