Speed Reads

wikileaks

Julian Assange says he will surrender Friday if UN tribunal rules against him

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been inside Ecuador's London embassy since 2012, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, but his long standoff with British authorities may finally be nearing its end. Early Thursday, Assange said on Twitter that if a United Nations panel on arbitrary detention rules that he has not been illegally detained inside the Ecuacorean embassy, as he claimed in a 2014 complaint, he will "exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal."

If the legal experts at the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions side with him, however, Assange said he expects "the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me." The panel does not have any formal authority over British or Swedish authorities, BBC News reports.

The UN panel is expected to announce its decision on Friday. Assange was originally arrested in 2010 on a European arrest warrant, and he took refuge in the Ecuador embassy after the UK courts ruled that he could be extradited to Sweden. Assange says that if he is sent to Sweden, the U.S. will try to extradite him to face charges related to WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents.

UPDATE: The UN panel has ruled in Assange's favor, BBC News reports. British police said they would still arrest him if he left the embassy.