Personal liberty still eludes WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, despite a ruling by a United Nations legal panel that has declared his confinement “arbitrary and illegal”. The ruling of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention — the authoritative UN body that pronounces on illegal detentions based on binding and legal international instruments — has met with support, but a bitter backlash as well.
Sweden and Britain have rejected the panel’s findings outright, despite the fact that they are signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the other treaties upon which the UN legal panel has based its recommendation. The same countries have in the past upheld rulings of the same panel on similar cases such as the ‘arbitrary detention’ of the Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed. It was WikiLeaks that carried the shocking video evidence of the wholesale collateral murder by the U.S.-led forces of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.