A UN panel examining the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Friday he had been arbitrarily detained by both Sweden and Britain and called on both countries to compensate him.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be allowed to go free from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and awarded compensation for what amounts to a three-and-a-half-year detention, a UN panel ruled on Friday.
Assange, a computer hacker who enraged the United States by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid a rape investigation in Sweden.
Both Britain and Sweden denied that Assange was being deprived of freedom, noting he had entered the embassy voluntarily.
Assange, an Australian, appealed to the U.N. panel, whose decision is not binding, saying he was a political refugee whose rights had been infringed by being unable to take up asylum in Ecuador.
It ruled in his favour, though the decision was not unanimous. Three of the five members on the panel supported a decision in Assange’s favour, with one dissenter and one recusing herself.
“The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention,” the group’s head, Seong-Phil Hong, said in a statement.
“(It) maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.”
Read more: Times of India