The Hindu  –  Updated: February 5, 2016 15:19 IST

The decisions of U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are not binding on states, even if they are generally considered a good arbiter of international law.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” by Britain and Sweden since December 2010, and should be freed and compensated, a U.N. human rights panel says.

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which falls under the offices of the U.N. human rights chief, made the call in an 18-page document made public on Friday after it had notified Mr. Assange.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Mr. Assange over allegations of rape stemming from a working visit he made to the country in 2010 when WikiLeaks was attracting international attention for its secret-spilling.

Mr. Assange has consistently denied the allegations but declined to return to Sweden to meet with prosecutors and eventually sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has lived since June 2012.