UN expert to visit WikiLeaks founder in London

World

06 Apr 2019

UN expert to visit Assange, assess violation of privacy claims

An independent rights expert will visit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadoran embassy in London to assess whether privacy violation claims involving him merit investigation, the UN rights office said Thursday.

"The Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, plans to meet WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 25 April," the UN office said in a statement.

Here's more.

Allegations

Quito accused WikiLeaks of spreading private information linked to President

Quito accused WikiLeaks of spreading private information linked to President

The meeting will take place at the Ecuadoran embassy, where Assange has been living for more than six years, and would be facilitated by the Ecuadoran government.

The announcement came after Quito (Ecuador capital) filed a formal complaint to Cannataci accusing WikiLeaks of spreading private information linked to President Lenin Moreno.

Photos, videos, and private conversations also appeared on portals like Twitter and Facebook.

Denial

President Moreno claimed he knew who was responsible for accusations

Moreno was also forced to deny allegations of corruption which surfaced on the website inapapers.org, with the president claiming he knew who was responsible for the accusations.

An informed source said the special rapporteur would also investigate allegations made by Assange that his privacy had been violated during his time holed up in the embassy in the south American country.

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Statement

Assange has 'too often repeatedly violated' the agreement: Moreno

Assange has 'too often repeatedly violated' the agreement: Moreno

"The UN expert said the meeting would help determine if there exists a prima facie case of violation of privacy that warrants further investigation," the UN statement said.

In an interview broadcast by several Ecuadoran radio stations this week, Moreno said, "Assange has too often repeatedly violated the agreement we have with him and his legal team," without saying whether Ecuador would withdraw asylum.

Tweet

Learned through high-level Ecuadoran-source that Assange would be expelled: WikiLeaks

Another UN rights expert, Nils Melzer, meanwhile voiced alarm yesterday at reports that Ecuador was preparing to expel Assange from its embassy, and said he planned to investigate the case.

WikiLeaks tweeted Thursday that it had learned through a high-level Ecuadoran source that Assange would be expelled within "hours to days using the offshore scandal as a pretext."

Assange would be expelled within 'hours to days', said WikiLeaks

Comment

If expelled, Assange would be arrested by British authorities: Melzer

If expelled, Assange would be arrested by British authorities: Melzer

Melzer, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said, "In my assessment, if Mr. Assange were to be expelled from the Embassy of Ecuador, he is likely to be arrested by British authorities and extradited to the United States."

"Such a response could expose him to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights," he warned.

Expulsion from the embassy could risk Assange's human rights: Melzer

Melzer further said that the expulsion could risk Assange's human rights "including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." He further asked the Ecuador government to abstain the expulsion.

Request

I urge Ecuadoran government to abstain from expelling Assange: Melzer

"I urge the government of Ecuador to abstain from expelling Mr. Assange from its embassy in London, or from otherwise ceasing or suspending his political-asylum until full protection of his human rights can be guaranteed," said Melzer.

Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadoran embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced accusations of sexual-assault that prosecutors in Stockholm have since abandoned.

Background

Assange refused to leave embassy to avoid extradition to US

Assange refused to leave embassy to avoid extradition to US

Assange has refused to leave the Ecuador embassy at London to avoid extradition to the United States to face charges over his website publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files in 2010.

The 47-year-old Australian denies the rape claims and said that he feared Sweden would pass him on to the US authorities if he was extradited.

Swedish chief prosecutor dropped proceedings against Assange in 2017

The Swedish chief prosecutor dropped proceedings against Assange in 2017 because going ahead and serving notice of charges would necessitate his presence in court. However, Assange fears he could still be arrested by UK police for breaching bail terms if he leaves the embassy.

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