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On the Occasion of Julian Assange Celebrating His 45th Birthday Within the Confines of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London

Today, 3 July 2016, on the birthday of the greatest truth-teller of our times, it might be appropriate to congratulate and celebrate with Julian Assange (and his friends and his cat).

But is is also appropriate to review the persecution he has endured now for so many years. And no one is more suited to that task than the United Nations, as per their ruling from 4 December 2015.

Their description of the conditions of Julian Assange’s persecution unequivocally places the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny in a category solely her own, forever displacing Claes Borgström as the country’s (perhaps the world’s) most incompetent (and most heinous) jurist ever.

The Ruling of the United Nations

The Working Group is convinced once again that, among others, the current situation of Mr. Assange staying within the confines of the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London, United Kingdom, has become a state of an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. The factual elements and the totality of the circumstances that have led to this conclusion include the following:

  1. Mr. Assange has been denied the opportunity to provide a statement, which is a fundamental aspect of the audi alteram partem principle, the access to exculpatory evidence, and thus the opportunity to defend himself against the allegations;

  2. the duration of such detention is ipso facto incompatible with the presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has been denied the right to contest the continued necessity and proportionality of the arrest warrant in light of the length of this detention, i.e. his confinement in the Ecuadorian Embassy;

  3. the indefinite nature of this detention, and the absence of an effective form of judicial review or remedy concerning the prolonged confinement and the highly intrusive surveillance, to which Mr. Assange has been subjected;

  4. the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London is not and far less than a house or detention centre equipped for prolonged pre-trial detention and lacks appropriate and necessary medical equipment or facilities. It is valid to assume, after 5 years of deprivation of liberty, Mr. Assange’s health could have been deteriorated to a level that anything more than a superficial illness would put his health at a serious risk and he was denied his access to a medical institution for a proper diagnosis, including taking a MRI test;

  5. with regard to the legality of the EAW, since the final decision by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Mr. Assange’s case, UK domestic law on the determinative issues had been drastically changed, including as a result of perceived abuses raised by Sweden’s EAW, so that if requested, Mr. Assange’s extradition would not have been permitted by the UK. Nevertheless, the Government of the United Kingdom has stated in relation to Mr. Assange that these changes are ‘not retrospective’ and so may not benefit him. A position is maintained in which his confinement within the Ecuadorian Embassy is likely to continue indefinitely. The corrective UK legislation addressed the court’s inability to conduct a proportionality assessment of the Swedish prosecutor’s international arrest warrant (corrected by s. 157 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, in force since July 2014). The corrective legislation also barred extradition where no decision to bring a person to trial had been made (s. 156).

Disposition

The deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 7, 9(1), 9(3), 9(4), 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It falls within category III of the categories applicable to the consideration of the cases submitted to the Working Group.

Consequent upon the opinion rendered, the Working Group requests the Government of Sweden and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to assess the situation of Mr. Assange, to ensure his safety and physical integrity, to facilitate the exercise of his right to freedom of movement in an expedient manner, and to ensure the full enjoyment of his rights guaranteed by the international norms on detention.

The Working Group considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the adequate remedy would be to ensure the right of free movement of Mr. Assange and accord him an enforceable right to compensation, in accordance with article 9(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

4 December 2015