UK Stance on UN Ruling on Assange Portends More Abuse – Ex-UN Group Head

© REUTERS / Peter NichollsWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain in this February 5, 2016.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain in this February 5, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The United Kingdom’s defiance of and dismissive remarks about a UN working group’s ruling that said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange must be set free dilutes the authority of international law, the former head of the UN body told British media Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled earlier this month that Assange’s confinement at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was arbitrary and said he should be able to walk free. Senior UK politicians, including Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, ridiculed the decision.

"Rulings by the UNWGAD are not always followed by states, but rarely do they result in such personal attacks as made by UK politicians after the Assange opinion," Professor Mads Andenas told The Guardian.

He warned that countries with a poor human rights record would use remarks by UK politicians, who said the UNWGAD judgment was flawed and not binding, to justify their own defiance of international laws. This will have consequences for people who are at risk of ill-treatment.

"I fear that these politicians have weakened the international community’s possibility to protect some of the most vulnerable victims of human rights violations," the newspaper quoted Andenas as saying.

Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after a British court authorized his extradition to Sweden on rape and sexual assault charges. The whistleblower denies all the accusations and fears Sweden may hand him over to the United States to be prosecuted for espionage after his website leaked classified US data.

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