A UN group has criticised the 50-week prison sentence given to Julian Assange by Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday.
Wikileaks founder Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, was found guilty of breaching bail conditions handed down in 2010 when he left house arrest to request asylum from the South American country.
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The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a Geneva-based body composed of independent experts, said it was “deeply concerned about this course of action including the disproportionate sentence imposed on Mr Assange”.
The statement went on to say: “The Working Group is further concerned that Mr. Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence.”
“This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards.”
The same working group had, in 2016, released a statement to say that it considered Assange’s detention in Wandsworth prison for 10 days in 2010, as well as subsequent house arrest, and then confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to amount to arbitrary detention on the part of the UK and Swedish governments.