Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks caused a media frenzy by publishing classified documents about Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. By 2015, Wikileaks has published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses, and has been described by Assange himself as “a giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents” As a result, Assange was treated as a fugitive and subject to a prosecution by the Espionage Act of 1917. There’s also been a slur on Assange’s character which stems from allegations of a sexual assault against two women in Sweden. To properly hear the case, Assange has to leave his safe haven at the Ecuadorian embassy. Many argue this is simply the workings of a corrupt government trying to capture Assange by any means possible.
Today, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention made a landmark ruling and claimed Assange’s decision to reside in the Ecuadorian embassy was “arbitrary detention” and breached international law. Furthermore the UN suggested that Mr Assange’s detention “should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected”. Apparently, the Wikileaks founder was subject to “different forms of deprivation of liberty” and “… afforded the right to compensation”. It’s important to note that this isn’t a legally binding arrangement, and doesn’t alter Assange’s current plight. However, this should apply some pressure on the UK and USA governments to give Assange freedom of movement without any arrests occurring.
Mr. Assange reacted to the decision via a direct video link and said it was a “really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face”. However, the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond dismissed these recent comments and claimed he was a “fugitive from justice” Not only that, Hammond said Assange could “come out any time he chooses” but would still have to face a trial.
Do you think Julian Assange is a hero or villain?