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  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Britain, May 19, 2017.

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 21 December 2018

Human rights experts from the United Nations Organization (U.N), demanded that the United Kingdom (U.K.) follows its international obligations by immediately allowing Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, to exit from the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

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“States that are based upon and promote the rule of law do not like to be confronted with their own violations of the law, that is understandable. But when they honestly admit these violations, they do honor the very spirit of the rule of law, earn enhanced respect for doing so, and set worldwide commendable examples,” the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) said.

Julian Assange has been in the Ecuadorean embassy for over six years, since the government of former President Rafael Correa granted him asylum, fearing an arrest by British authorities and extradition to the U.S. for "peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest."

According to the U.N. experts "It is time that Mr. Assange, who has already paid a high price (...) recovers his freedom," as the health of Assange is being damaged and his detention might endanger his life due to the long deprivation of liberty.

“Under international law, pre-trial detention must only be imposed in limited instances. Detention during investigations must be even more limited, especially in the absence of any charge” said the experts. According to the experts the Swedish investigations against Assange have been closed for over 18 months, and he is still depraved of liberty only because of a bail violation in the U.K., "a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador."

"Mr. Assange should be able to exercise his right to freedom of movement in an unhindered manner, in accordance with the human rights conventions the UK has ratified," argued the United Nations experts. Assange founded WikiLeaks to fight for freedom of expression by allowing "whistle-blowers to make public information they deem should be known in the public interest."

Assange claims that he has reasonable motives to think that if he is deported to the U.S. he will face trial for publishing, in WikiLeaks, thousands of classified diplomatic documents. For many analysts, if he has a trial in the United States, Assange would most likely face a death penalty.


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