Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Assange ‘arbitrarily detained’ in Ecuador’s London embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Friday urged Britain and Sweden to let him walk free from Ecuador’s embassy in London. But according to a lawyer, Assange will remain at Ecuador’s Embassy in London as long as there is a risk he will be detained and extradited to the US. Assange’s three-and-a-half-year stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid rape investigation in Sweden amounts to ‘arbitrary detention’, a United Nations panel ruled on Friday. Assange had said earlier in a short message on Twitter that he would have left the embassy if the UN panel had ruled against him. “(But) 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, 44, said. Britain said it had never arbitrarily detained Assange and that the Australian had voluntarily avoided arrest by jumping bail to flee to the embassy. Britain rejected a UN panel’s ruling on Friday and said Assange will be arrested if he leaves his cramped quarters at the embassy and then extradited to Sweden.



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