UN Calls For Julian Assange To Be Released

United Nations experts have called for Julian Assange to be freed from prison, saying they were “deeply concerned” about his well being and accusing the British government of breaching his human rights.

The U.N.’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said they were concerned by the “disproportionate sentence” given to Assange for violating the terms of his bail which they called a “minor violation.”

Assange was jailed for 50 weeks on Wednesday for breaking bail conditions imposed seven years earlier by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The Guardian reports: The group has twice previously called for Assange to be freed, after it judged his confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy by the threat of arrest should he leave amounted to arbitrary detention. 

“The working group regrets that the government has not complied with its opinion and has now furthered the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr Assange,” it said in a statement on Friday. 

“It is worth recalling that the detention and the subsequent bail of Mr Assange in the UK were connected to preliminary investigations initiated in 2010 by a prosecutor in Sweden. It is equally worth noting that that prosecutor did not press any charges against Mr Assange and that in 2017, after interviewing him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, she discontinued investigations and brought an end to the case. 

“The working group is further concerned that Mr Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence. This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards. 

“The WGAD reiterates its recommendation to the government of the United Kingdom, as expressed in its opinion 54/2015, and its 21 December 2018 statement, that the right of Mr Assange to personal liberty should be restored.”