WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has made a rare appearance on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy.
It comes after launching an attack against the Government for its “insulting” response to a UN working group report on his detention.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond branded the working group’s findings on the “arbitrary detention” of Assange as “frankly ridiculous” and said the Australian was “hiding from justice”.
He spoke out after the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said the Swedish and British authorities should end Assange’s “deprivation of liberty” and respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement.
Assange spoke via Skype to a press conference in London, saying the UN report had brought a smile to his face. He insisted his detention had now been formally ruled as unlawful.
He later spoke to a crowd of his supporters from the embassy’s balcony. He held up a copy of the UN report and he said he had won a “sweet victory” which the UK and Swedish authorities could not deny.
“What right do the governments of the US, UK or Sweden have to deny my children their father for five-and-a-half years,” he said to cheers from a small crowd of supporters.
He said he had become “tough” over the past few years, but spoke of his children, saying they had nothing to do with the case.
“It is time they had their father back. That will happen, one way or another.”
He’s wanted for questioning in Sweden over a sex allegation, which he has always denied. And he believes he will be taken to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he is extradited.
He told the news conference that the UN Working Group’s decision was legally binding, insisting there was no higher authority on whether detentions were lawful.
Speaking about Hammond, he said: “It is insulting for the UN, to call the decision ridiculous. Those comments were beneath the stature of a foreign minister.”
He finished his comments by saying he missed his family, adding: “We have a really strong victory that has brought a smile to my face and I hope many others as well.”