The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention panel called on Swedish and British authorities to end Assange's "deprivation of liberty" as part of its opinion on Assange's predicament.
This quickly prompted lawyers and other commentators to slam the finding's interpretation of human rights law. As one explained:
And people couldn't wait to help out.
Assange speaks via video link on Friday
Assange is wanted for questioning over an alleged sex offence in Sweden, which he denies, and is fighting against extradition. He has not left the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, since June 2012.
Speaking via video link from the embassy on Friday, Assange called this response "insulting". He added the UN decision was was a "vindication" and supposed wrongful detention was "now a matter of settled law".
After speaking for 10 minutes, Assange closed by saying: "I would like to say thank you, that I miss my family. That we have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face and I hope many others as well."
The UK government has confirmed that it will formally contest the opinion of the UN panel.
In a statement the Foreign Office said: "This changes nothing. We completely reject any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. The UK has already made clear to the UN that we will formally contest the working group’s opinion."