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Sweden: UN Panel Finds Assange Was 'Arbitrarily Detained'

  • VOA News

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, right, listens as Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino, second right, speaks, during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London, Aug. 18, 2014.

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, right, listens as Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino, second right, speaks, during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London, Aug. 18, 2014.

Swedish prosecutors say that a United Nations panel has found that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been 'arbitrarily detained' in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, but adds that his confinement has no impact on the rape case against him in Sweden.

"The ruling from the Working Group has no formal impact on the ongoing investigation, according to Swedish law," the prosecution authority said in a statement Thursday.

Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on allegations of rape, a charge he denies.

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has been investigating Assange's claim that the rape case is a pretext that would allow Sweden to extradite him to the United States, which wants to prosecute him for publishing classified information on the WikiLeaks website, and that his confinement in the embassy amounts to arbitrary detention.

The working group's report will be officially released on Friday.

Assange, who is Australian, published on WikiLeaks a number of leaked diplomatic cables and other sensitive documents that the United States considers classified information. It was one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.

Assange has said he would accept arrest if the U.N. panel ruled against him.

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