UN Thinks Britain Is Holding Assange Unlawfully

But London says it will still arrest him if he leaves embassy
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2016 2:38 AM CST
Updated Feb 4, 2016 6:34 AM CST

(Newser) – For Julian Assange, there's good news and bad news. The good is that a UN panel has ruled in his favor and found that Britain is essentially keeping him in arbitrary detention, reports the BBC. The bad is that London doesn't care and vows to arrest him if he tries to leave the Ecuadorean embassy, reports Reuters. The developments come after Assange appealed to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to look into his case. The official ruling is to be made public on Friday, but both the BBC and the Guardian say the panel has sided with Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the embassy for more than three years, hoping to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sex-crimes charges.

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In an earlier tweet, Assange said he would turn himself in to police if the panel ruled against him, reports the AP. "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," he wrote. That appears unlikely: A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday that the ruling isn't legally binding and that Assange—who also fears extradition to the US over the leaking of military secrets—would be immediately arrested if he tries to leave. WikiLeaks, meanwhile, says it is awaiting confirmation of the news reports about the ruling. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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