WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Claims Full Vindication with UN Ruling

A little-known United Nations human rights panel has sided with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his long-running battle with Swedish and British authorities, saying he should be allowed to walk free from his embassy hideaway and compensated for the years he has lost.

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which falls under the offices of the U.N. human rights chief, said Assange has been "arbitrarily detained" by Britain and Sweden since December 2010, when he was first sought for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct.

The panel's recommendation was immediately rejected by Swedish and British officials who said Assange's legal situation is unchanged. He remains in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he has been holed up for more than three and a half years.

No charges have been filed against Assange in Sweden, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him over allegations of rape stemming from a working visit he made to the country in 2010 when WikiLeaks was attracting international attention for its secret-spilling. He is also sought by Britain for jumping bail.

Assange has consistently denied the allegations but has refused to return to Sweden to meet with prosecutors and eventually took the decision to seek refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has lived since June 2012.

Addressing supporters from the embassy balcony, Assange called the finding "a historic victory."

Speaking earlier by video link from the embassy, he told a news conference the finding that he has been unlawfully detained is a significant victory that completely vindicates him.

"The lawfulness of my detention or otherwise is now a matter of settled law," Assange said.

But the lawyer for the Swedish woman who has accused Assange of rape said the group's finding was "insulting and offensive" toward her client and the rights of all crime victims.

In a statement, Elisabeth Massi...

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