WikiLeaks 'waiting for official confirmation' after reports UN ruled in Assange's favor (VIDEO)
WikiLeaks said it is “waiting for official confirmation” after the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the BBC reported that a UN panel has ruled the arbitrary detention of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London is illegal.
The UN working group has “made the judgment that Assange has been arbitrarily detained in contravention of international commitments," a spokeswoman for the Swedish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Assange earlier said in case of a favorable decision he expects “the immediate return” of his passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest him.
The UN, however, neither confirmed nor denied to RT that the panel has ruled on Assange’s illegal detention.
.@wikileaks’ Kristinn Hrafnsson tells RT: ‘Assange will abide by UN findings, let's hope Swedish and UK do the same’ pic.twitter.com/0jcuEunLYF— Harry Fear (@harryfear) February 4, 2016
Media gathering outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London , waiting for news on Assange @Ruptly@RTUKnews@harryfearpic.twitter.com/3PABiNrMNe— Jon Scammell (@JonScammell) February 4, 2016
“The [UN] working group is tomorrow morning [Friday], it is going to release an official opinion on the case” said Xabier Celaya, press officer of UN High Commission for human rights, told RT, “At the moment we can’t confirm this [BBC report].”
Note what happened today. UN+Assange press confs tomorrow. UK already has verdict but not JA, public. So UK used BBC to 'scoop' UN, JA.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 4, 2016
Celaya said he can only confirm that the report didn’t come from the UN.
“We can only comment on the official document.”
BBC is reporting claim that UN has found for Assange We are waiting official confirmation https://t.co/yIHlDNhzjJpic.twitter.com/DeQHGnLqwK— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 4, 2016
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT that he had read the BBC report online, but he doesn’t have any official confirmation from the UN working group.
British Foreign Office said the allegation of rape is still “outstanding“ against Assange, so the UK has "a legal obligation" to extradite him to Sweden, Reuters reported.
#Assange: We will release the opinion of UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions on Feb 5, 11am CET. We cannot confirm other info today.— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 4, 2016
According to spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron, UN panel decision would not be legally binding, and if the WikiLeaks founder leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, the arrest warrant will be put into effect.
Current UK spin is suggest it has treaty obligations to arrest Assange. This is false for Sweden. There is no UK-Sweden extradition treaty.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 4, 2016
READ MORE: Assange will surrender to UK police if UN rules against him
The WikiLeaks founder filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014.
Assange also said that he would accept his fate and allow the UK police to arrest him if the UN panel investigating his case ruled against him.
READ MORE: UN set to announce decision on Assange's release on Friday – WikiLeaks
According to Assange’s lawyer Thomas Olsson, Assange has been sheltered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012, having been granted asylum by the South American country.
A spokesman for the British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy.
"The warrant is still in place. If he leaves the embassy we will make every effort to arrest him," the spokesman said, as cited by Reuters.
Here's the membership of the UN panel which has reportedly ruled in Assange's favour re: his "detention" pic.twitter.com/5dstp0d3KM— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) February 4, 2016
In Sweden, Assange is wanted for questioning by the authorities regarding allegations of sexual assault against two women in 2010, which he has always denied. Assange fears that if he goes to Sweden he will eventually have to face a tribunal in the US for publishing classified documents through Wikileaks. Sweden has refused to guarantee that this would not happen.
In August, Swedish prosecutors said they would drop the investigation into two allegations of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion as the statute of limitations had run out. One outstanding allegation of rape remains, which Assange will still be questioned about.