WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday urged Sweden and Britain to let him freely leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he’s taken refuge three-and-a-half years ago, after the UN ruled that he had been arbitrarily detained.
At a press conference organised by his supporters, Mr. Assange appeared on web cam to respond to the new developments.
“We have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face,” Mr. Assange said. “It is now the task of the states of Sweden and the United Kingdom ... to implement the [UN] verdict.”
However, both governments had said that the UN ruling is not binding on them.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond termed the UN decision “ridiculous.”
Mr. Assange said Mr. Hammond’s statement was “below the stature of a Foreign Minister” and “insulting to the UN”. Both the U.K. and Sweden participated in the inquiry and now seek to pull out because they “don’t like the outcome”, he said.
Not only are Britain and Sweden by their actions “weakening international law”, Mr. Assange noted, at a diplomatic level, the countries will not be treated seriously as “international players that obey international obligations”. He also warned of the consequences for Britain and Sweden, like their removal from UN committees, blocking them in voting processes, and in the last resort, even sanctions.