WikiLeaks spokesman: UK, Sweden should respect UN panel ruling on Assange
The UK and Sweden should respect and abide by UN panel ruling if it establishes that WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s detention in London is illegal, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the group’s spokesman, told RT. He said its ‘unthinkable’ to undermine the panel’s decision.
If the leaks of UN panel’s ruling in favor of Assange are confirmed on Friday, the whistleblowing organization expects British authorities to lift the arrest warrant against the WikiLeaks founder, “hand him his passport back and secure his freedom,” he said.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said through his spokesman that the UN panel decision wouldn’t be legally binding and if Assange leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, an arrest warrant will be put into effect.
“That’s a very big concern. It’s horrible if that’s the position the UK will take,” Hrafnsson said, explaining that the actions of the British authorities will “undermine this very important UN panel and all its decisions in the future.”
“That’s almost unthinkable to undermine a very important human rights panel like this one by a Western government that – at least, on the surface – wants to care about human rights,” he added.
“Enough is enough,” he said, adding that the WikiLeaks founder has “exhausted all avenues, basically.”
The spokesman confirmed Assange’s intention to leave the Ecuadorian embassy and give himself in to the UK police if the UN panel rules against him.
With Assange promising to honor the UN ruling whatever it is, “let’s hope that the Swedish and the UK authorities will do the same,” Hrafnsson concluded.
The WikiLeaks founder filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014.
The BBC was first to report that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is planning to rule that Assange is being "arbitrarily detained" in the UK.
On Thursday, the Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that the UN working group has “made the judgment that Assange has been arbitrarily detained in contravention of international commitments."
"We note that the Working Group’s view differs from that of the Swedish authorities," the Ministry added in a comment to RT.
Despite the official announcement scheduled for Friday, “the Swedish and UK authorities already know the outcome,” Hrafnsson said.
“It’s customary for the countries involved to get a notification on the ruling beforehand. And even – though – it sounds a bit odd – the individual that submits a complaint is the last one to know,” he explained.
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
WikiLeaks believes that the decision will allow their founder to finally leave the Ecuadorian embassy where he has been holed up for over three years after being granted asylum by the country in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations.
'Govt must accept UN's ruling over Assange' - Vivienne Westwoodhttps://t.co/Wch9nCeCvI— RT UK (@RTUKnews) February 4, 2016
However, Bruno Kramm from the German Pirate Party didn’t share WikiLeaks’ optimism, saying that Assange is unlikely to regain his freedom.
Despite the ruling by the UN panel, “the state attorney already is finding some new reasons why they could arrest him because [the] UK… as the strongest ally in Europe of the US… will definitely arrest him,” he told RT.
Kramm warned that Assange may well end up not in Sweden, but “under US justice and then forever jailed.”
“You shouldn’t forget about what Julian Assange has done with WikiLeaks when he was showing this collateral murder video and many, many documents about Afghanistan. This was a huge slap in the face for the US government ... it was seriously showing what kind of measurements the US have according to human rights,” he said.
The German Pirate Party representative said that “the US huge interest to put him into jail like [Chelsea] Manning also ... [could be] an example for future whistleblowers.”