UN to Britain: You Owe Assange Money Over His Detention

Panel cites his 'deprivation of liberty,' but London dismisses idea
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2016 8:11 AM CST
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on a screen as he addresses journalists from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Friday.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

(Newser) – A UN panel not only thinks Julian Assange is being unlawfully held in Britain, it wants the UK to set him free and pay him for his "deprivation of liberty." London thinks that's "ridiculous." Assange, meanwhile, said the ruling vindicates him—even though he'll have to remain holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy or risk arrest, reports the AP. As expected, a UN human rights panel sided with Assange in a report released Friday, concluding that he's being held in what amounts to arbitrary detention, reports the BBC.

"The adequate remedy would be to ensure the right of free movement of Mr. Assange and accord him an enforceable right to compensation," says the report. The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-crimes charges, and his larger fear is that he'll end up being extradited to the US over the leaking of military secrets. A statement from Britain's Foreign Office asserts Assange "has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK" and is "voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy."

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