Paris(AFP): France swiftly rejected on Friday a request for asylum by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.…
LONDON(REUTERS): WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke to reporters on Friday via a video link from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a UN panel ruled that he should be allowed to go free and be awarded compensation.
“I would like to say thank you, that I miss my family. That we have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face and I hope many others as well.,” Assange said. He also said that the ruling will strengthen his case for freedom from arbitrary detention.
Commenting on the UK’s decision to contest the UN ruling, Assange said if the UK and Sweden continued to contest the panel’s ruling they would be hit diplomatically.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,” said Seong-Phil Hong, who currently heads the expert panel of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
“The Working Group maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation,” Hong added.
However, both Sweden and the UK rejected the ruling – which is non-binding – saying it “changes nothing”. The 44-year-old Australian, who founded the WikiLeaks in 2006 that released 500,000 secret US military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 diplomatic cables enraging Washington, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in central London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face a rape investigation.
Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador, which has housed him since 2012 at its embassy where he lives in a small room and has likened his confinement to living in a space station.