UN experts warn Assange arrest exposes him to risk of serious human rights violations

UN Photo/Mark Garten Press Briefing by Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. She tweeted that the explusion of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London exposed him to “risks of serious human rights violations”.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Independent UN rights experts on Thursday said the arrest of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange by police in the United Kingdom, after the Ecuadorian Government decided to stop granting him asylum in their London embassy, exposed him to “the risk of serious human rights violations”, if extradited to the United States.

Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, Agnes Callamard, tweeted that in “expelling Assange from the Embassy” and allowing his arrest, it had taken Mr. Assange “one step closer to extradition”. She added that the UK had now arbitrarily-detained the controversial anti-secrecy journalist and campaigner, “possibly endangering his life”.

Mr. Assange took refuge inside the embassy in 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden by the UK authorities where he faced charges, since dropped, of sexual assault. But he also faces US federal conspiracy charges, relating to the leak of a vast number of Government documents to his Wikileaks website, by the former US intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning. The US argues that publication by the investigative site, endangered the lives of its citizens working overseas.

According to reports, the UK will now assess whether to extradite the Australian national to the US, where he faces up to five years in prison. The UK has reportedly given assurances in writing to the Ecuadorian Government that Mr. Assange will not be extradited to a country where he could face torture, or the death penalty.

After appearing in a central London courtroom on Thursday, Mr. Assange was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court in 2012, and now faces up to 12 months in prison.

The UN independent expert on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, issued a statement following the arrest, saying that “this will not stop my efforts to assess Mr. Assange’s claims that his privacy has been violated. All it means is that, instead of visiting Mr Assange and speaking to him at the Embassy…I intend to visit him and speak to him wherever he may be detained.”

In a statement last Friday, Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, said he was alarmed by reports that an arrest was imminent, and that if extradited, Mr. Assange could be exposed to “a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

UK urged to ‘abide by international obligations’

Last December, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, urged the UK to “abide by its international obligations” and allow Mr. Assange safe passage out of the embassy.

“States that are based upon, and promote the rule of law, do not like to be confronted with their own violations of the law, that is understandable. But when they honestly admit these violations, they do honour the very spirit of the rule of law, earn enhanced respect for doing so, and set worldwide commendable examples,” said a statement released by the Working Group.

In December 2015, the Working Group concluded in its opinion No. 54/2015 that Mr. Assange – who at the time had a European arrest warrant issued against him for an allegation of crimes committed in Sweden ‑ was being arbitrarily deprived of his freedom and demanded that he be released.

“Under international law, pre-trial detention must be only imposed in limited instances. Detention during investigations must be even more limited, especially in the absence of any charge” said the experts. “The Swedish investigations have been closed for over 18 months now, and the only ground remaining for Mr. Assange’s continued deprivation of liberty is a bail violation in the UK, which is, objectively, a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador.”

“Mr. Assange should be able to exercise his right to freedom of movement in an unhindered manner, in accordance with the human rights conventions the UK has ratified,” the experts added.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Rare diseases are more common than you might think

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

European Semester Winter Package: assessing Member States’ progress on economic and social priorities

At UN, Middle East countries discuss steps towards regional nuclear-free zone

3 ways business leaders can build digital trust

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

There are more than 1 billion guns in the world and this is who owns them

From rescue animals to electric buses, California is introducing bold new rules

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

‘Emulate his example’ urges UN chief as world celebrates Nelson Mandela: a ‘global advocate for dignity and equality’

Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

Let’s Learn

UNICEF chief hopes 2020 will be ‘a year of peace’ for Syria’s children

Chart of the day: Why marine protected sites matter more than ever

Stable growth momentum in the OECD area

‘Everyone needs to do more’ to help suffering Venezuelans, says UN Emergency Relief Coordinator

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

EU budget: Stepping up the EU’s role as a security and defence provider

Here are three ways organizations can prepare for tomorrow’s world

A Sting Exclusive: “Global Climate: Our Common Responsibility”, S&P MEP Miriam Dalli underlines from Brussels

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

3 leaders on creating a pipeline for female talent in business

New UN forestry project bids to help countries meet climate change commitments

Promoting Health in the Brazilian Amazon: one nation but many cultures

Switzerland has the most highly skilled workers in the world. This is why

The IMF sees Brexit’s ‘substantial impact’ while the world’s economy holds its breath

Smart devices must come with trust already installed

This is the environmental catastrophe you’ve probably never heard of

EU-China Light Bridge in Brussels signals the bright coming of the Year of The Dog

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

Informal meeting of heads of state or government, Sibiu, 09/05/2019

Elections in Europe: No risks for the EU, leaders readying to face Trump-Brexit

MEPs push for high ambitions at the COP25 in Madrid

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

How Finland is fighting fake news – in the classroom

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

UN forum to explore use of outer space to improve lives, protect planet

Security Council renews Central African Republic arms embargo

EU plans pan-European network of cybersecurity services

4 reasons cities should embrace Universal Basic Income

The Working Methods of the von der Leyen Commission: Striving for more at home and in the world

Central American migrants must be protected, urge UN experts

World faces ‘climate apartheid’ risk, 120 more million in poverty: UN expert

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Nearly $4 billion needed to protect 41 million children from conflict and disaster

DR Congo: Ebola response resumes despite ‘risky environment’

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part II)

MEPs propose more transparent legislative drafting and use of allowances

Fuel crisis rapidly draining last ‘coping capacities’ of Palestinians in Gaza

Scientists now think air pollution is fuelling violent crime

Schengen is losing ground fast revealing Europe’s clear inability to deal with migration crisis

On the euro but out of it?

UK economy in dire straits: leading banks now officially plan to Brexit too

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s