The British government has formally asked a United Nations panel to review its finding that Julian Assange is “arbitrarily detained” in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, calling the opinion “deeply flawed”.

In its first formal response to the finding of the UN working group on arbitrary detention, which published its opinion in February, the Foreign Office confirmed it would contest the finding, saying: “The original conclusions of the UN working group are inaccurate and should be reviewed.”

In a statement, the Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said: “We want to ensure the working group is in possession of the full facts. Our request for a review of the opinion sets those facts out clearly.

“Julian Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK, and is in fact voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorian embassy. The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.”

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