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UK brands Assange ruling 'ridiculous'

February 5, 2016 6:18 pm

The UK foreign secretary has branded as “ridiculous” a UN panel’s ruling that Julian Assange be allowed to go free, as the Wikileaks founder demanded the decision be respected.

Mr Assange – who faces extradition to Sweden over a rape claim, which he denies – claimed asylum in London’s Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.

The panel said he had been “arbitrarily detained” and should get compensation.

Philip Hammond rejected the decision, accusing Mr Assange of evading justice.

Mr Assange hailed it as a “significant victory”, but the UK government insisted the ruling was not legally binding and the report “changes nothing”.

The 44-year-old Australian was originally arrested in London in 2010 under a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations.

Two years later, while on bail, he claimed asylum inside the Ecuadorean embassy in Knightsbridge.