Julian Assange says he will accept arrest by British police if his appeal to the United Nations fails.
The Australian WikiLeaks founder and spokesman announced via Twitter on Thursday that he would leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been living under asylum since August 2012, as soon as Friday.
An investigation by the UN into whether Assange has effectively been detained illegally by Britain and Sweden is due to deliver its findings within the next 24hrs. If they are not in his favour, Assange says will call it quits on his stay at the Knightsbridge address and accept his fate with the British authorities.
If the UN finds in his favour, however, he has demanded that he be given back his passport and all threats of him being detained be dropped.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 4, 2016
Until August 2015 Julian Assange was wanted in Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual molestation and unlawful coercion involving two women. He can no longer be charged over these allegations due to the statute of limitations under Swedish law having expired for these alleged offences.
However, a more serious count against Assange of ‘lesser-degree rape’ is still active, giving reason for British police to still arrest him for extradition to Sweden for questioning.
Assange claims that if he is taken to Sweden he risks then being extradited to the United States where, he argues, he may face long-term imprisonment or perhaps even death over his activities with WikiLeaks.
During his three-and-a-half year stay at the embassy Assange has conducted from inside the building numerous appearances via video phone, welcomed visitors including Lady Gaga, and even made a run for the Australian Senate.
UPDATE 5 Feb 2016: The UN report came down in favour of Julian Assange