Local News


Assange might accept arrest pending UN ruling

Posted at 3:53 AM, Feb 04, 2016

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said he will accept arrest by British police if a U.N. working group investigating his claims decides that the three years he has spent inside the Ecuadorean Embassy doesn't amount to illegal detention.

Writing on WikiLeaks' Twitter account, Assange said if the U.N. panel finds he has lost his case against the United Kingdom and Sweden then he will turn himself in to police at noon on Friday.

"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 added.

British police said Thursday that nothing has changed regarding Assange's situation and that police will still seek to arrest him if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy.

The U.N. panel based in Geneva doesn't have any binding authority to impose its findings on the British or Swedish judicial authorities, which have been involved in years of legal wrangling involving Assange.

Its decision could, however, influence how aggressively Swedish prosecutors pursue Assange for questioning about allegations of sexual misconduct.

Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for Swedish prosecutors, told The Associated Press on Thursday that "we have no comment now. We are waiting for the report."

Assange voluntarily took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden where two women have accused him of sexual assault.

He has said his main legal concern is a possible indictment against him in the U.S. on charges related to WikiLeaks' release of government cables.

He has expressed the fear that British and Swedish authorities plan to send him to the U.S. to face charges against him there.

British police guarded the Ecuadorean Embassy for several years but removed the round-the-clock security cordon in October.

Police said they would still seek to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy because of a valid arrest warrant. Police said both overt and covert means would be used to keep track of Assange.