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Julian Assange calls on UK and Sweden to set him free

The controversial WikiLeaks founder claims the two countries are deliberately going against a UN order to free him and compensate him.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Feb. 5, 2016.
Carl Court, Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a tweet on Monday called upon the UK and Sweden to restore his freedom.

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over four years, having been offered asylum by the country amid legal tussles with the US, Sweden and the UK. If Assange were to leave the embassy, he would be immediately arrested by British police who would then extradite him to Sweden, where he is under investigation by prosecutors.

It has been one year since the UN told the UK and Sweden that they were acting unlawfully by depriving Assange of his liberty and must immediately free him and compensate him. The UK appealed the decision, but its request for the decision to be reconsidered was rejected by the UN in November.

"I call on the UK and Sweden to do the right thing and restore my liberty," said Assange in a statement tweeted by WikiLeaks. "These two states signed treaties to recognize the UN and its human rights mechanisms."

Assange's saga is a complicated one. Sweden issued an arrest warrant for the Australian native six years ago on several charges, including an allegation of rape. Assange took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London because he feared officials would extradite him to the US to face prosecution over leaked government and military documents.

Last month, Assange said he would be willing to travel to the US to face a federal investigation tied to WikiLeaks' publication of classified government documents, though he set some conditions: He wants the Justice Department either to drop its charges against him or to unseal any extradition orders or charges it's keeping confidential. That came after President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former US soldier who supplied WikiLeaks with thousands of classified documents.

Spokespeople from the UK and Swedish governments didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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