UN Panel Says WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Being Arbitrarily Detained

Posted Feb. 10, 2016

MP3 Interview with Carey Shenkman, U.S. based attorney working on behalf of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, conducted by Scott Harris

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, was granted asylum in Ecuador's London embassy three-and-a-half years ago as he faced extradition to Sweden to answer questions on rape and sexual assault charges. While Assange denied the allegations, he refused to travel to Sweden fearing that the government there would extradite him to the U.S. to face serious charges for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents in 2010. Those documents were a great embarrassment to the U.S., exposing covert spying and military operations, as well as a video recording of U.S. helicopter gunships killing Iraqi civilians and two Reuters reporters.

Assange's legal status in the United States is uncertain after a 2010 grand jury investigation found that there was sufficient evidence to bring charges against the whistleblower related to his release of U.S. documents given to WikiLeaks by Army Specialist Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison in August 2013.

In a new development in the case, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a ruling on Feb. 5 that found Assange's detention in Ecuador's London embassy should come to an end, and that he has the right to compensation for the more than three years he spent in "illegal detention" there. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Carey Shenkman, a U.S.-based attorney working on behalf of Julian Assange, who talks about the UN Working Group’s ruling and the wider significance of the Assange case for both journalists and activists.

For more information, visit Justice for Assange at justice4assange.com.

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