11:43 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Swedish prosecutors have a choice to formally overrule their investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s alleged sexual assault after a UN human rights panel ruled he is being detained arbitrarily, the whistleblower’s lawyer told Sputnik on Friday.

    LONDON (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova – The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) ruled in a non-binding majority opinion that Assange is arbitrarily detained inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has sought refuge since mid-2012. 

    "It is up to the [Swedish] prosecutor to decide if they are going to change the decisions and, if they don't want to do that, we would have to go to court," Thomas Olson said.

    WGAD said at its press conference the ruling was "indirectly but still legally binding," noting that Assange would still face arrest on an active warrant should he step outside the embassy.

    "There are some court decisions that are still in force. What the UN working group says is that these decisions are in contrary with the international law. They need to be overruled formally before he is free man in a formal aspect," Olson stressed.

    Sweden and the United Kingdom dispute WGAD’s ruling, with the UK government claiming Assange is "voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest" and is not arbitrarily detained.

    Assange’s possible extradition to Sweden is feared to be a precursor to the whistleblower’s transfer to the United States, where he could face espionage charges for publishing classified documents on WikiLeaks.

    The Australian national, who filed his complaint with WGAD in September 2014, had vowed to walk out of the Ecuadorian embassy and hand himself in to the authorities were the panel rule against him.


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    lawyers, embassy, prosecution, Julian Assange, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ecuador
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