11:28 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Julian Assange takes part in news conference via video link from Ecuadoran Embassy in London

    Lawyers Say Sweden Will Have to Give Up on Assange

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    Julian Assange’s lawyers have appealed to a Swedish court for the discharge of an arrest warrant in a rape case of the Wikileaks founder.

    The move follows a ruling adopted by a UN working group on arbitrary detention (UNWGAD), stating that Assange's stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London amounts to arbitrary detention.

    "We think that UN panel's decision recommendations are an authoritative interpretation of the human rights that are involved, so we think that the court has to take this decision into consideration," Assange's lawyer Thomas Olsson said, in conversation with Radio Sputnik, adding that, "And then there's only one way to go, that is to overrule this decision about detention and warrant arrest."

    UNWGAD appealed to Sweden to guarantee Assange's freedom of movement and has also decreed that the online publisher is entitled to compensation. According to Olsson, the lawyers haven't given compensation any thought yet, preferring to "take one step at a time," and resolve the question of detention and the arrest warrant first.

    Olsson added that in UN rulings, human rights have always been considered by the country's court, and thus Sweden has left itself with just one option.

    "Both Sweden and United Kingdom have in many other cases been very clear with the importance to follow rulings like this from panel of experts under the UN commission of human rights," he said. "Now Sweden has to live up to those demands for themselves."

    Assange has spent the last three years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, filing a complaint with the UN in 2014, arguing that he was arbitrarily detained, since he could not leave without fear of being arrested and extradited. He was granted asylum at the embassy in June 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations he claims are a part of a conspiracy to secure his further extradition to the United States, where he would likely be charged with espionage for his whistleblower activities. He has not been formally charged of any crime.


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