Swedish Foreign Ministry: UN panel says Assange detention "arbitrary"

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London was "arbitrary," according to a UN panel that has investigated his case, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said.

A UN working group is set to publish a determination on whether Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, is in effect illegally detained there.

The working group's findings were to be made public Friday, but a Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told dpa the panel considered Assange's "detention ... arbitrary and in violation of international conventions."

Ecuador granted Assange asylum because he was afraid of a possible extradition to the United States, where he is wanted in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of top secret diplomatic cables.

The Foreign Ministry and Swedish government conclude that the UN working group has reached a different conclusion than Swedish judicial authorities, the spokeswoman added.

The BBC on Thursday claimed to know that the panel would rule in favour of Assange.

Assange's legal team said the BBC report came from a deliberate leak by the British government, who already knew the UN panel's decision.

Assange said he would hand himself in to British police Friday in the event of an unfavourable decision from a UN investigation.

"I will accept arrest by British police on Friday if UN rules against me," the 44-year-old Australian said on Twitter.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a five-member independent and impartial body appointed by the UN. Its current members are from Australia, Benin, Mexico, South Korea and Ukraine.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25

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