22:21 GMT +320 February 2019
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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

    Assange Accuses US, UK of Putting Pressure on UN Legal Panel

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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday accused the United States and the United kingdom of applying pressure on UN jurists in the February's arbitrary detention decision.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On February 5, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) ruled that Assange, who applied for asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after a British court permitted his extradition to Sweden for sexual assault accusations, was "arbitrarily detained" and should be released. Both the United Kingdom and Sweden have defied the ruling and have continued seeking his arrest.

    "Multiple times…the United States put pressure, serious pressure, on the jurists in the United Nations…And so did the United Kingdom. So despite the pressure going on outside the formal process to manipulate those jurists behind the scenes, nonetheless we won…Those individuals, who were appointed in individual capacity…They managed to survive various pressures, and of course they may pay a cost, and of course the UN system itself may pay the cost," Assange stated during the Logan Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) Symposium in Berlin.

    The non-binding WGAD ruling was a significant achievement the WikiLeaks founder said, adding that the defiance of UN human rights rulings by various countries may pose a threat to the UN human rights system.

    Assange, who spoke to the symposium via a videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, also touched upon issues of mass surveillance, and the political future of Europe. "I think we are headed for dark days," he said.

    The WikiLeaks founder has been residing at the Ecuadorian embassy out of fear of being extradited, first to Sweden where he has been accused of sexual assault, and ultimately to the United States where he could face espionage charges for publishing secret documents through his website.


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