Ecuador's mission to the UN is preparing a side event in the framework of the UN's 28th Human Rights Council Session to deal with the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is wanted in Sweden and the US. This initiative is in addition to two recommendations made by Ecuador to Sweden during the last Universal Periodic Review, a system within the UN Human Rights Council that assesses countries' compliance with international standards in this area. The Ecuadorean mission recommended that Sweden take measures to limit the period of pre-trial detention, or an equivalent situation of liberty being deprived, without formal charges and for investigation purposes. The mission has also recommended streamlining mechanisms for international legal cooperation in judicial and prosecutorial bodies, to ensure due process specifically in cases where the person concerned is protected by an asylum decision of refugee status. Sweden has rejected the second proposal and agreed to study the first in the period given by the UPR which extends until July. It is believed that the Ecuadorean government is ready to collaborate with Swedish authorities in the investigation, and is willing to let Assange be interviewed either by video or Swedish officials visiting the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
The government of Sweden has agreed to study Ecuador's proposal to reduce the preventive detention of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, wanted in both Sweden and the United States, and it is understood they will respond before July. The proposal reflects Ecuador's interest in breaking the deadlock on the situation with Assange.
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean embassy in central London since 2012, where he faces extradition to Sweden should he leave. December 7, 2014, marked four years since Assange was arrested without charge and almost 900 days that he has spent inside the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, at an estimated cost of £10.5m to the UK taxpayer.
Could we at last be looking at a resolution for Knightsbridge’s most famous refugee and Harrod’s neighbour, albeit in 6 months?