WikiLeaks' Assange to accept arrest if UN denies appeal

Founder of whistle-blower website demands UK authorities stop further attempts to arrest him if UN rules in his favour.

    WikiLeaks' Assange to accept arrest if UN denies appeal
    Assange has lived in exile in Ecuador's embassy in the UK for three-and-a-half years pending his case [AP]

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will respect a UN ruling on his case and accept arrest by British authorities at noon on Friday if it goes against him.

    UK police said Thursday earlier announced plans to take Assange into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant were still in place.

    Assange, 44, an Australian national, has been sought by Swedish authorities since 2012 for questioning over allegations of rape.

    Critics say the accusations were an attempt to possibly extradite him to the United States, where he could face charges over WikiLeaks' publication of classified military and diplomatic documents.

    In June 2012, Assange took refuge in the the UK's Ecuadorian embassy - after Ecuador granted him political asylum - to avoid extradition to Sweden. He has lived there for three-and-a-half years appealing his case to the UN.

    "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," a statement posted Thursday on WikiLeaks' Twitter page said.

    "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.

    The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has been considering his case after an appeal by Assange that his time spent in the embassy constituted arbitrary detention. 

    Assange argued that he had been deprived of his fundamental liberties, including lack of access to sunlight or fresh air, and adequate medical facilities, as well as legal and procedural insecurity.

     Inside Story Americas - The curious case of Julian Assange

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And Reuters


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