Thursday, February 4, 2016

Exclusive: Assange Lawyer Expects Immediate Release

Exclusive: Assange Lawyer Expects Immediate Release

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Exclusive: Assange Lawyer Expects Immediate Release
Assange had previously said he would accept arrest in London if the U.N. panel ruled against him.
A United Nations panel has condemned the "arbitrary detention" of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a BBC report ahead of the formal ruling Friday.

The panel has found that the creator of the whistleblowing site had been “arbitrarily detained” after an appeal from Assange to the body against the United Kingdom and Sweden.

The U.K.'s police force has vowed it will arrest Assange should he leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London as a warrant for his arrest by Sweden remains in place. It says this will hold even if the U.N. rules in Assange's favor.

"The warrant is still in place. If he leaves the embassy we will make every effort to arrest him," a spokesman for the police was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority in a statement on Thursday rejected the & nbsp; panel's finding, saying it has no legal bearing on the case, according to Reuters.

Melinda Taylor, a lawyer supporting efforts to secure Assange's release, told teleSUR that they “expect that the U.K will comply with its international legal obligations” and that the state “should welcome the direction provided by the (U.N.).”

Taylor emphasized that Assange had spent over three years inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London and that Thursday's developments should mean that the WikiLeaks founder can leave “immediately” and that his supporters were working toward a “speedy solution.”

Taylor also praised the alleged ruling, calling it a “good verdict” and she hopes that with it, Assange will “finally be a free man."

The decision comes after a complaint Assange filed to the U.N., in 2014 where he claimed that he was being "arbitrarily detained," led to an investigation by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Among other points made to the U.N., Assange's complaint included his likely fate were he to be extradited to the United States by the U.K. or Sweden, based on the trial and detention of alleged WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, who was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.

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WikiLeaks says it is still waiting on "official confirmation" to corroborate the BBC report of the U.N. panel's decision.

Assange said Thursday that he will submit to arrest by the British police on Friday should the United Nations rule against him in the case against the U.K. and Sweden, WikiLeaks reported.

“Should the U.N. announce tomorrow (Friday) that I have lost my case against the United Kingdom and Sweden, I shall exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal," he said.

“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,” Assange added.

WikiLeaks has previously said it was hopeful that if the U.N. ruling finds Assange's detention "unlawful" it was possible Assange could be "released immediately."

The Justice4Assange website claims "if the (working group) finds in Julian Assange's favor, it will declare that Assange is arbitrarily detained. In this case the U.K. and Sweden must immediately release and compensate him."

Others have said highlighted that the U.N. working group can not instruct the release, merely demand it. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights website states:

"If the Group decides that the arbitrary nature of the deprivation of liberty is established, it shall render an opinion to that effect and make recommendations to the Government. The opinion is sent to the Government, together with the recommendations."

The 44-year-old Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012 after he secured political asylum from Quito.

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