When a UN panel from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention upheld Julian Assange's claim that he was being unlawfully detained in London's Ecuadorean embassy, they also stopped Assange from turning himself in to the London police.
Assange had promised that he would "accept arrest by the British police on Friday if UN rules against me."
Assange: I will accept arrest by British police on Friday if UN rules against me. More info: https://t.co/Mb6gXlz7QS pic.twitter.com/mffVsqKj5w
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 4, 2016
As noted, the UK police have not agreed to let Assange go free, punting the issue to the Swedish police, who've already had to drop some of the pending charges because the statute of limitations had expired.
The UK police spent £12 million keeping Assange under continuous surveillance in the embassy for three years, and it dropped its round-the-clock detail in October 2015.
Sweden and Ecuador have been locked in lengthy negotiations over arrangements to allow Swedish prosecutors to interview Assange in the embassy. Ecuador's foreign minister said last month that the country would allow access for questioning, but Sweden later said its request had been rejected "on formal grounds". It is considering whether to submit a fresh request.
Samuelson said his client still hoped to clear his name. "This does not mean that the question of interrogation will be over. We still want an interrogation to take place so that Mr Assange can clear his name and show everyone that he is innocent.
"The difference is that he will no longer be in custody in absentia and thus be able to use his asylum outside of the embassy. If Assange is regarded as detained he has already served the time so to speak so Marianne Ny should drop the case altogether."
Julian Assange is in arbitrary detention, UN panel finds
[Esther Addley, Owen Bowcott, Jessica Elgot, Paul Farrell and David Crouch/The Guardian]
(Image: RUEDA DE PRENSA CONJUNTA ENTRE CANCILLER RICARDO PATIÑO Y JULIAN ASSANGE, Cancillería del Ecuador, CC-BY-SA)