• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Julian Assange
UN panel rules in favour of Wikileaks' Assange
Global reporters gathered outside Ecuador's embassy in London on Thursday. Photo: Mattias Areskog/TT

UN panel rules in favour of Wikileaks' Assange

TT/AFP/The Local · 4 Feb 2016, 16:35

Published: 04 Feb 2016 06:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2016 16:35 GMT+01:00

The ministry said on Thursday that the UN had decided Julian Assange was treated unlawfully by UK authorities.

"We can only note that the working panel has come to another conclusion than Swedish judicial authorities," a foreign ministry spokeswoman told the AFP news wire, a day before the panel was to publish its report.

In an earlier statement, the Wikileaks founder said that he expected to avoid being held by police if the ruling went his way.

“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," he said.

However the UK government said British police would still arrest Assange if he left the embassy.

Meanwhile Ecuador said on Thursday that he was welcome to remain in its London embassy, despite the UN panel's expected ruling.

"It's a personal decision. We've given him protection and of course it is still in place. The basis on which we granted him asylum remains in place," its ambassador Ricardo Patino told journalists.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Per Samuelsson suggested to The Local that a ruling in his client's favour meant Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny would have to ask a court to lift the warrant issued against him.

"It is now official in Sweden that we have won, so we are demanding the prosecution to withdraw the European arrest warrant and to close the case," he said.

The Swedish prosecution authority has yet to comment on the panel's report.

Samuelsson said that he had attempted to contact Ny, but was told she was on vacation.

The lawyer said he had not spoken to his client since the Swedish government confirmed the UN panel's decision, which was first broken by the BBC.

"He found out from the BBC (...) He was nervous. Now it has been confirmed by the Swedish foreign ministry, he must be very pleased."

Any decision by the UN panel is not legally binding, however Justice for Assange claims its rulings have previously influenced the release from detention of prominent figures including Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi and Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who was held by Iran for 18 months.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in west London for more than three years in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations, a charge he has denied.

Ecuador has granted him asylum, but it was understood he faced immediate arrest if he stepped onto British soil and for years police were posted around the clock outside its doors at a cost of millions of pounds.

In September 2014, he filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention claiming his confinement in the embassy amounts to illegal detention.

"The only protection he has ... is to stay in the confines of the embassy; the only way for Mr Assange to enjoy his right to asylum is to be in detention," the submission said.

"This is not a legally acceptable choice," it added, according to a file posted on the website justice4assange.com.

The Australian has long feared he could eventually face extradition to the United States to be put on trial over the leak of hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.

Story continues below…

Assange founded Wikileaks in 2006, and its activities including the release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 diplomatic cables have infuriated the United States.

The main source of the leaks, US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for breaches of the Espionage Act.

TIMELINE: All the twists and turns in the Assange case

A divisive figure, Assange has likened his confinement in the embassy, where he lives in a small room divided into an office and a living area, to living in a space station.

Previously he lived in the more impressive surroundings of an English country mansion owned by one of his supporters, documentary maker Vaughan Smith.

Wikileaks has said that Sweden's handling of the case has left a "black stain" on the country's human rights record.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Swedish economy beating European giants in 2016
New numbers from Statistics Sweden paint a positive picture. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Sweden's economy is leaving the likes of Germany and Great Britain in its wake, figures suggest.

Video
Meet Dynamite Erik, a Swede who blows things up for fun
Who doesn't want to blow up a computer? Photo: Erik Johansson

The Local talks to a Swedish farmer who has turned his hobby of blowing things up into a YouTube sensation.

Swedish police to trial use of taser guns
A file photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The weapons are designed to incapacitate assailants through an electrical current.

Swedish woman denied job because of her head scarf
Gothenburg resident Ruya El Hattawi, who says she was denied a job because of her veil. Photo: Private

Delight over tying down a summer job soon gave way to shock when the offer was withdrawn.

Fans threatening boycott of Johnny Depp's Stockholm gig
Johnny Depp and the Hollywood Vampires performing at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Photo: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

But others were queuing outside on Monday morning.

Good news: The Swedish summer has returned
It could be time for that first swim of the year in Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Time to put away those waterproofs and bring out the bathing suits once more.

Zlatan's sore calf forces him to sit out Sweden's friendly
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the Sweden team's training camp. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

So does that mean Slovenia will beat Sweden on Monday?

'Sweden would not be able to defend Gotland'
File photo of a military exercise. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

Sweden would not be able to make a stand if it came to an invasion of the Baltic Sea island by foreign forces, one expert has said.

My Swedish Career
'Sweden is the ideal place for my business'
Emilie Terstegge. Photo: Sandra Jolly Photography.

Why Sweden's fitness craze and generous family benefits helped this Dutch entrepreneur launch her startup for mums.

Police shoot knife man in central Stockholm
Police technicians spent the rest of Saturday night combing the square for clues. Photo: TT

A knife-wielding man was shot by police officers in Stockholm’s Sergel Square after he attacked officers.

Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Gallery
People-watching: May 27th-29th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
National
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
3,315
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se