‘UN decision undeniable victory, Sweden & UK lost,’ Assange tells crowds in London
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hailed as “a victory that cannot be denied” a favorable UN panel ruling on his detention, saying that the UK and Sweden have lost at the highest level. The comments came as he appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“How sweet it is!” Assange proclaimed as he stood before the cheering crowd with a copy of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) decision in his hands.
He said the ruling was “historical” not only for him and his family, but also “for the independence of the UN system.”
“This is a decision under international humanitarian law fighting the UK, Sweden, and the US for the most part,” he said.
#Assange NOW: i've been detained w/out charge for 5.5 yrs, it's been found unlawful by UN working group, their decisions legally binding— Anastasia Churkina (@NastiaChurkina) February 5, 2016
The WikiLeaks founder noted the UN had stressed that the panel’s decision was “legally binding,” which means attempts to deny the ruling by UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond were just “words.”
“The UK and Sweden lost at the highest level,” Assange said, adding that both countries didn’t use their chance to appeal the UN ruling because they knew that they had no chance of success.
Assange warned that if his “illegal, immoral detention” continues despite the decision, those responsible for it in the UK and Sweden will face criminal charges.
After exposing corruption at the highest international level for 20 years, Assange said that he expected persecution.
“But what right does the US, UK, Sweden have to deny my children their father for five-and-half-years without charge… Today they have their father back,” he said.
He also read extracts from the UN panel’s ruling on his case, which said that “The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) … considered that Mr Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained by the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”
The group said that Assange “is entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation.”
Assange concluded his speech by thanking everybody at the UN, the people and the government of Ecuador, all his supporters worldwide as well as the “good people” in the governments of the UK, Sweden and the US.
The whistleblower has been holed up for over three years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after being granted asylum by the country in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations.
Assange filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014 after exhausting all other legal options in the fight to regain freedom.