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  • A supporter of Julian Assange holds a poster after a prosecutor from Sweden arrived at Ecuador

    A supporter of Julian Assange holds a poster after a prosecutor from Sweden arrived at Ecuador's embassy to interview him in London, Britain, Nov. 14, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 November 2016

The U.N. working group on detention maintained its earlier ruling calling on the U.K. and Sweden to free the WikiLeaks founder.

The United Nations panel that said earlier this year that Britain and Sweden had "arbitrarily detained" Julian Assange reaffirmed its position on the case Wednesday and rejected a British request to review the case.

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“The Working Group concluded that the requests did not meet the threshold of a review as enshrined in paragraph 21 of its methods of work and that they were thus not admissible,” the U.N. human rights agency said Wednesday in a press release.

This was the second rejection of the United Kingdom’s attempt to change the panel’s February opinion on the WikiLeaks founder’s case.

The panel found that Britain had not presented enough new information to merit a fresh examination. The group made the decision at a meeting last week, the press release said.

In February, the panel found that Britain and Sweden had "arbitrarily detained" Assange. The U.N. group then instructed the U.K. and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure his liberty, protection and access to fundamental human rights. The Justice for Assange website said that with the rejection London has exhausted all its attempts to appeal the decision.

The whistleblower sought refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in London in June 2012, fleeing allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden dating back to 2010.

The Australian national denies the allegations and says he refused to travel to Sweden for questioning because he feared extradition to the U.S. over WikiLeaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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