On the lamb Julian Assange says he will agree to be arrested by British police tomorrow if a UN investigation into his three-and-a-half years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in central London does not rule that he was illegally detained.
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy since June 2012, after Swedish authorities sought his extradition. The United Nations working group on arbitrary detention is set to hand down a decision on Assange’s case on Friday morning.
Assange told the UN that his detention was arbitrary and unlawful. It rests on a challenge to the European extradition system, his inability to access the benefit of the grant of asylum by Ecuador, and what he argues is his long-term detention.
In a statement issued by WikiLeaks on Twitter, Assange said: “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 WikiLeaks founder had raised repeated concerns about Swedish demands that he be questioned in person over the allegations, due to fears he may be extradited to the United States.
Swedish authorities have come under scrutiny for their approach to questioning him. It was only in January 2016 that a deal was finally struck by prosecutors with Ecuadorian officials to allow Assange to be questioned at the embassy in London.
Swedish authorities said three of the offences are out of their statute of limitations. But they still want to talk to him about a further allegation of rape.