UN experts call for Assange’s unconditional release as he loses last appeal over restrictive rules

22-12-18 08:45:00,

A UN-endorsed team of experts has urged London to “immediately” allow WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy, as the court of last resort denied his appeal over a newly imposed set of ‘censure’ rules.

Seong-Phil Hong, chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Michel Forst, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, reiterated calls for the UK to abide by international law and allow Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy without any precondition.

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Assange sues Ecuador for ‘violating fundamental rights & freedoms’ over new set of ‘censure’ rules

“It is time that Mr Assange, who has already paid a high price for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest, recovers his freedom,” the UN experts demanded in a statement on Friday.

The experts argued that “pre-trial detention must be only imposed in limited instances,” adding that the charges Assange faces in the UK for skipping his bail while applying for asylum cannot justify his six years within the embassy’s walls.

Assange became holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after being granted asylum by then-Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa. Assange, who was in the UK at the time, was unable to go to the airport for fear of being arrested and handed over to the US, where he is wanted for exposing diplomatic and military secrets, and has had to stay in the embassy since.

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© Global Look / Alberto Pezzali

Back in February 2016, the UN working panel found that Assange, who then still faced extradition to Sweden over a rape investigation, was “arbitrarily detained” and must be set free. London called the demand “ridiculous.” Sweden dropped its case against Assange more than a year ago.

Despite the UN experts’ support, Assange suffered a setback with the Ecuadorian justice system. On Friday, Pichincha Provincial Court reaffirmed a decision by a lower court to throw out his appeal against a new set of house rules. The rules laid out in a special protocol in October restricted Assange’s visitation rights,

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‘Assange’s asylum restrictions similar to a maximum security jail’ – human rights activist

31-10-18 02:35:00,

Some aspects of Assange’s conditions are reasonable, but the way they are imposed to make his life unbearable could be part of a deliberate strategy to force him leave the embassy, human rights activist Peter Tatchell said.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed on Monday that Ecuador is planning to end his political asylum and hand him over to the US. Ecuadorian court threw out Assange’s lawsuit over his living conditions at the country’s embassy in London.

Ecuadorian court threw out Assange’s lawsuit over his living conditions at the country’s embassy in London.

Earlier, the Ecuadorian embassy issued a memo, giving Assange a list of rules to follow, if he wants to continue his six-year stay in the building. These include restrictions on personal visits and a ban on communications that could harm Ecuador or its relations with foreign states.

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© Reuters / Peter Nicholls

RT:Julian Assange is now saying Ecuador wants to throw him out of the embassy and hand him over to the US. Although Ecuador has not confirmed this yet. Do you think that’s likely to happen?

Peter Tatchell:The conditions imposed on Julian Assange by the Ecuadorian authorities are extremely draconian. They are in some respect similar to the kinds of restrictions that a prisoner would face in a maximum security jail. To give you an example, the Ecuadorian authorities reserve for themselves on their own whim to decide whether he can have visitors or not. They will decide who the visitors are, when they’ll come, how long they’ll stay, but also those visitors, including his own lawyers must hand over codes and passwords for their laptops, their mobile phones. And the Ecuadorian authorities reserve the right to take information from those private confidential sources and give them to whoever they wish.

They also reserve the right to confiscate anything brought in to the embassy by a visitor to Julian Assange. In some respects, some aspects of these conditions are reasonable. But the way they are being imposed very clearly with the intention of making life unbearable for Mr. Assange does appear to be part of the deliberate strategy to make life so bad for him that he voluntarily leaves even though Ecuador is saying that he is welcome to stay.

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