WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he would surrender to the British police tomorrow (5 February) if a UN probe rules against him. The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is set to decide whether the Australian national, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years, is a victim of arbitrary detention.
The 44-year-old took refuge at the diplomatic mission in July 2012 to prevent being extradited to Sweden – where he is sought for questioning over rape allegations though not formally charged. Assange complained to the UN authorities in 2014 that his detention was unlawful and arbitrary.
Assange said in a statement released via WikiLeaks today (4 February): "Should the UN announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United Kingdom and Sweden I shall exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal.
"However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me."
The UN panel, which will announce its verdict on Friday morning, has collected evidence from the UK and Sweden though its findings do not have legal binding on either the British or Swedish authorities.
In the lengthy political drama, which was played out globally, Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid being arrested by the British police. He does not want to step on Swedish soil, Assange argues, as authorities would eventually extradite him to the US, where he faces serious charges.