Swedish government rejects UN criticism over Assange

 Members of the media wait opposite the Ecuadorian embassy in central London, Britain on Feb 5, 2016.
Members of the media wait opposite the Ecuadorian embassy in central London, Britain on Feb 5, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (REUTERS) - The Swedish government on Friday (Feb 5) rejected the conclusions of a United Nations panel report saying Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's stay in Ecuador's London embassy amounts to "unlawful detention".

The Swedish government said that Assange had chosen, voluntarily, to stay at the Ecuadorian embassy where he has been since 2012.

"Swedish authorities have no control over his decision to stay there. Mr Assange is free to leave the Embassy at any point," the government said in a statement replying to the UN panel.

Assange, 44, took refuge at the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations, which he denies, that he committed rape in 2010.