WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has announced he may finally leave the Ecuadorian embassy to the UK. Should a UN panel rule that he has not been arbitrarily detained, he says he will turn himself in to British police.
After spending three years in London's Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations, Julian Assange said he would turn himself over to British authorities on Friday, should the UN decide he has not been arbitrarily detained.
"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," Assange said in a statement.
"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."
Assange filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014, claiming his confinement in the embassy amounts to illegal detention.
A Swedish woman accused Assange of raping her in Stockholm in 2010. The WikiLeaks founder has always insisted the encounter was consensual.
Granted asylum by Ecuador, Assange has refused to leave Quito's embassy in London for fear of being sent to the United States by Swedish authorities.
Assange released hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables from Washington through WikiLeaks in 2010.
es/jr (AFP, Reuters)