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Julian Assange files for appeal in Sweden

Sertan SandersonAugust 9, 2016

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has filed an appeal at Sweden's Svea Court of Appeal urging Sweden to comply with non-binding UN findings. He says that his "detention" - in Ecuador's UK embassy - was unlawful.

Julian Assange
Image: picture alliance/empics/D. Lipinski

WikiLeaks said that the deprivation of Assange's liberty was illegal and that Sweden should drop its bid to question the hacktivist. The online platform for leaked information referred to the restriction on liberty that Julian Assange is currently experiencing, effectively living under self-imposed house arrest conditions on account of trying to avoid an arrest warrant against him.

Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than four years, where he was granted political asylum in 2012.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange cannot leave the premises of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (pictured here) without risking immediate arrestImage: Reuters/P. Nicholls

Assange was never formally charged with any offense in Sweden, with investigators saying that they wanted to interrogate him first. Offers to conduct the interview from the embassy in London were refused.

According to WikiLeaks, a representative from Assange's legal team said that the proceedings would, "test whether Sweden complies with its binding treaty obligations and whether it acts in good faith under the UN human rights system."

The UN published its findings on February 5, saying that Assange's current "detention" was unlawful. Both Britain and Sweden have, however, rejected the UN decision.

A special guest at the Ecuadorian embassy

Assange was granted asylum in Ecuador in 2012 and has since been living at the country's embassy in London. He can't, however, leave the diplomatic facility to physically travel to Ecuador. His Australian passport was reportedly taken by UK police, following rape allegations made in Sweden, back in 2010.

Until October of last year, police had been manning the entrance to the building in London's Knightsbridge neighborhood around the clock, although they eventually stopped citing the operation's eight-figure costs and lack of success. Assange would risk arrest on leaving the embassy.

Assange could then possibly be extradited to Sweden to be tried in a rape case. The WikiLeaks founder has, however, expressed concern that the Swedish extradition request may only be a front for a more serious trial he may face in the US for espionage - one which can carry the death penalty as a sentence.

Among the reasons why Assange has expressed doubt about the genuine nature of the Swedish allegations, is the fact that the publishing of the US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks in November 2010, had coincided with the arrest warrant being issued against Assange. Furthermore, WikiLeaks also claims that the alleged plaintiff in the rape case against Assange had later said that the police "made it up" and placed her under duress.