The 50-week jail sentence given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for breaching a British court’s bail conditions seven years ago is “disproportionate,” the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said on Friday.
Mr. Assange will serve the nearly one-year jail sentence while fighting a separate attempt to extradite him to the United States.
The UN working group noted that the Swedish allegations — the initial offence that triggered his British arrest — had been withdrawn and that the original bail terms should therefore have been nullified.
It noted too that he had been given near the maximum 12-month sentence available in the U.K. for breaching bail conditions.
The group is “deeply concerned about… the disproportionate sentence imposed on Mr. Assange”, it said in a statement. It accused Britain of extending “the arbitrary deprivation of (his) liberty”.
The experts took further issue with Mr. Assange’s detention at the Belmarsh high-security prison. “This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards,” the panel said.