UK submits response to UN Working Group on Assange case

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

March 24
11:03 2016

The response rebuts the WGADs opinion, announced on 5 February, that the actions of the UK and Sweden, in relation to the Assange case, constituted arbitrary detention, and that the detention violated his human, civil and political rights.

Mr Assange has been resident in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since August 2012.

The UK made clear on 5 February that it would contest the WGADs opinion, and has now submitted the formal request for consideration.

The key points from the rebuttal are:

The Working Groups Opinion is deeply flawed and Mr Assange has never been the subject of arbitrary detention. His human rights have been protected throughout the process and will continue to be protected if and when he is extradited to Sweden.

Mr Assange was arrested following the issue by Sweden of a European Arrest Warrant in connection with serious sexual offence allegations. Mr Assange was refused bail and therefore detained for 10 days in Wandsworth Prison. His detention during that period was absolutely in line with the relevant legislation and regulations.

The decision to extradite Mr Assange was made by the Magistrates Court, but Mr Assange appealed first to the High Court and subsequently to the Supreme Court. He lost at all stages. The fact that the court process took some 18 months cannot be considered excessive or unfair in any way. During this period he was granted bail and so cannot be considered to have been detained.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Hugo Swire said:

The original conclusions of the UN Working Group are inaccurate and should be reviewed. We want to ensure the Working Group is in possession of the full facts. Our request for a review of the Opinion sets those facts out clearly. Julian Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK, and is in fact voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean Embassy. The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.

The UN Working Group is not a judicial body, and its opinions are not legally binding. The Working Groups decision on whether or not to review their opinion will be made during the next WGAD session, beginning 18h April in Geneva.

Further information

Media enquiries

Related Articles


  1. We don't have any comments for this article yet. Why not join in and start a discussion.

Write a Comment

Your name:
Your email:

Post my comment

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This

Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: