22:21 GMT +322 June 2018
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    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London (File)

    Detention, Extradition Without Charge Has Become Feature of EU - Assange

    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed reporters on Friday, May 19, commenting on the news that Swedish prosecutors had dropped the rape case against him.

    Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge in order to avoid extradition to Sweden.

    He told reporters that the Swedish prosecutors dropping his case means "an important victory" for him, however, it does not cancel out the fact that he had to hide, "without sunlight," for seven years.

    "Today is an important victory for me and for the UN human rights system. But it by no means erases seven years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and almost five years here in this embassy without sunlight," Assange told reporters.

    Assange slammed the EU, saying that "detention, extradition without charge" has become a hallmark of the union. He then said that his case means victory not only for him, but for European justice system as well.

    "The inevitable inquiry into what has occurred in this moment of terrible injustice is something that I hope will be more than just about me and this situation, because the reality is, detention and extradition without charge has become a feature of the European Union," Assange told reporters.

    Assange stressed that the claim made by the UK police that they ostensibly could arrest him for seeking asylum is "untenable." He expressed hope that he would be able to engage in a dialog with the UK authorities on the issue.

    "My legal staff have contacted the United Kingdom authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what is the best way forward," he said after raising a clenched fist in a gesture of victory.

    Assange also said he'd be happy to engage with the US Justice Department.

    "While there have been extremely threatening remarks made, I'm always happy to engage in a dialogue with the Department of Justice about what has occurred."

    Assange promised that WikiLeaks would continue its work revealing classified information.


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