The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says a UN panel’s ruling, which found Julian Assange was being ‘arbitrarily detained’, is not legally binding and it did not even bother to ask the Swedish or British government’s opinion.
Department official Jon Philp told a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra that no representations have been made to Sweden about Assange’s case since December 2011.
This is because he is receiving due process under those legal systems.
The 44-year-old Australian is likely to remain holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after the UK and Swedish governments rejected the UN’s ruling earlier this month.
The Aussies said the UK authorities are legitimately holding Assange’s passport, and Australia would not seek to intervene.
Three allegations of sexual assault in Sweden were dropped against Assange last year, when they reached their five year statute of limitations.
However, Swedish prosecutors still want to question him over a 2010 rape allegation. Assange has denied all allegations.
The UN Working Group does have some alarming features. Not only did it say that Assange had been locked up illegally (something which happened only because he ignored the legal system) it insists that he was entitled to compensation for his troubles.
So theoretically you can rape someone, be arrested, avoid a trial and never have to face the music and you will get the backing of the UN who will ignore the real victims of your crimes.
Last week, Assange staged a PR stunt claiming that he would hand himself over to British and Swedish authorities if the United Nations panel announced he had lost his case. If the Aussie government is right then it was all a media arranged event because Assange knew that the British and the Swedish would never dismantle their legal systems just to let him get out.