Julian Assange to hand himself in to police if UN rules against him


Julian Assange will hand himself over to police for arrest on Friday if the UN rules that he has not been unlawfully detained.

The Wikileaks founder is wanted for questioning in Sweden over one allegation of sexual assault, which he has always denied, and is fighting against extradition.

He has not left the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, for more than three years, after being granted political asylum by the South American nation.

Mr Assange believes he will be transported to the United States to be quizzed over the activities of WikiLeaks if he goes to Sweden. There is an espionage case against him in the US.

However in a statement published by WikiLeaks early on Thursday, Mr Assange said he expected to be able to walk free if the British and Swedish authorities fail to receive UN approval for extradition.

He 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 statement was signed: "Julian Assange, Embassy of Ecuador, London."

According to the website justice4assange.com the 44-year-old Australian has so far spent 1885 days inside the embassy "under house arrest". 

Before entering the embassy, Mr Assange had been held at home and in prison since December 2010, although he has never been charged.

Mr Assange filed a complaint against Sweden and the UK in September 2014 which is being considered by a group of legal experts for the UN, who are expected to deliver their findings on Friday.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has made previous rulings on whether imprisonment or detention is lawful, although the group does not have any direct bearing on British and Swedish authorities.

If the working group finds Mr Assange's detention to be unlawful the UN is expected to call on the UK and Sweden to let him go free.

The campaigner and former hacker has offered to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors, while the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, said their questions could also be put by Ecuadorean officials.

Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecutor handling the case, was believed to be considering a request to allow embassy officials to question their guest.