UN panel: Assange in "arbitrary detention" in Ecuador's embassy

A United Nations panel declared that the past three-and-a-half years that Julian Assange spent in Ecuador's embassy in the UK were effectively an “arbitrary detention”, as WikiLeaks' founder continues to fight extradition to Sweden.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention judgment in Assange's favour is not legally binding, but such reports are used to pressure nations related to human rights. The panel's full report will be published Friday morning.

Assange is wanted for questioning regarding a rape investigation in Sweden, where he has tried unsuccessfully to rescind a warrant for his arrest issued by the Swedish government. His lawyers responded to the UN panel's judgment by asking for Sweden's extradition request to be dismissed.

WikiLeaks said Assange would voluntarily accept arrest if the panel rules against him on Friday “as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal”.