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    A demonstrator holds a banner outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is staying, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016

    London Rejects UN Decision on Assange Freedom

    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
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    Assange will be arrested if he tries to leave the Ecuadorian embassy, the UK said, rejecting a UN ruling that the WikiLeaks founder should be released and compensated for his detention.

    The United Kingdom rejected the ruling made by the United Nations, that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be allowed to go free, and that his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy amounted to arbitrary detention.

    Assange, an Australian citizen, has avoided extradition to Sweden on alleged rape charges because of fears it could lead to his extradition to the United States, where he is sought on charges relating to his WikiLeaks website. Sweden has stated that it would not prevent his extradition to the US.

    "This changes nothing. We completely reject any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. The UK has already made clear to the UN that we will formally contest the working group's opinion," a British government spokesman told Reuters.

    "He is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy. An allegation of rape is still outstanding and a European Arrest Warrant in place, so the UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden," he added.

    Governments frequently reject rulings made by the United Nations, including pleas to close the US' Guantanamo Bay prison camp. One recent case was the freeing of the Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, who was let go in a prisoner swap between the US and Iran.


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