UN group seeks Assange’s release from UK jail

The WGAD "reiterated its recommendation to the government of the UK that the right of Assange to personal liberty should be restored".
UN group seeks Assange’s release from UK jail
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The UN working group on arbitrarydetention (WGAD) on Friday called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to bereleased from prison and slammed the UK government for breaching his humanrights.

Assange was handed a jail term of 50 weeks on Wednesday forviolating bail conditions in 2012 when he sought political asylum in theLondon's Ecuadorian Embassy.

The WGAD said in a statement that "it was deeplyconcerned by the "disproportionate sentence" imposed on Assange forviolating the terms of his bail, which it described as a "minorviolation".

This group has twice previously called for Assange to befreed.

"The working group regrets that the government has notcomplied with its opinion and has now furthered the arbitrary deprivation ofliberty of Assange," the group said in the statement.

"It is worth recallingthat the detention and the subsequent bail of Assange in the UK were connectedto preliminary investigations initiated in 2010 by a prosecutor in Sweden. Itis equally worth noting that that prosecutor did not press any charges againstAssange and that in 2017, after interviewing him in the Ecuadorian Embassy inLondon, she discontinued investigations and brought an end to the case.

"The working group isfurther concerned that Assange has been detained since April 11, 2019 inBelmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a seriouscriminal offence. This treatment appears to contravene the principles ofnecessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards,"the statement read.

The WGAD "reiteratedits recommendation to the government of the UK that the right of Assange topersonal liberty should be restored".

Meanwhile, Assange appeared in the court on Thursday viavideo link from Belmarsh as he began a legal fight against extradition to theUS, where he is wanted on charges relating to the publication of secret USfiles leaked by US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was subsequentlyjailed.They included approximately 90,000 reports aboutthe war in Afghanistan, 400,000 Iraq war reports and 800,000 Guantánamo Baydetainee assessments as well as US diplomatic cables.

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