(WASHINGTON) – The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) finding that the years Julian Assange has spent in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, in solitary confinement at Wandsworth prison and under house arrest amount to arbitrary detention is significant. It is further evidence that governments will go to great lengths to silence whistleblowers, journalists and publishers. The ruling of this respected international body – the same one that found that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were also arbitrarily detained – confirms that retaliatory acts against those working to defend the public’s right to know in a growing climate of secrecy are unacceptable and against the rule of law. The panel’s experts publicly call on the governments of Sweden and the UK to respect Julian Assange’s physical integrity, freedom of movement and right to liberty.

Mr. Sètondji Roland Adjovi, second vice-chair and spokesperson for the WGAD said:

“The Working Group conducted a thorough, months-long investigation of Mr. Assange’s presence in the Ecuadorian embassy and found it to be tantamount to arbitrary detention. The situation as it currently stands is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Since these two instruments are legally binding on the United Kingdom and Sweden, both countries should immediately take the steps necessary to comply with their international obligations.”

The full finding can be found here.

Andrew Harman – GAP Communications Director
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