Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been avoiding arrest by British police, subsequent extradition to Sweden and possible extradition to the United States. He has been a resident at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012. If he leaves the Embassy he faces arrest and extradition.
According to a tweet by WikiLeaks, Assange wrote a statement outlining his intentions should the United Nations U.N. rule against him in his case against the United Kingdom and Sweden. He stated that he would leave the Ecuadorean Embassy at 12:00 p.m. February 5, 2016 and face arrest. He cited “no meaningful prospect of further appeal” as the reason for his acceptance of arrest, but also wrote that should the U.N. favor his case, then he would expect the return of his passport and termination of attempts to arrest him.
The full submission to the working group on his detention can be read here.
According to CBS News the U.N. panel agreed that Assange has been arbitrarily detained for past three-years, but so far there has not been a clear confirmation of that statement. CBS News also reported that a British government spokeswoman told Reuters that Assange had not been arbitrarily detained in the U.K., but has been avoiding lawful arrest.
Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over accusations of rape. Should Assange be extradited to Sweden for sexual misconduct allegations, it is likely that Swedish authorities would send him to the U.S. due to their relaxed stance of extradition cases. In the U.S. Assange would face charges related to WikiLeaks’ release of government documents.
According to CBS News British police have said that they would arrest Assange regardless of the U.N. decision because the arrest warrant for him is still valid. They also stated that they would use any means necessary to monitor Assange’s movements.
extradition to the U.S. is the main reason why Assange has remained at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over three-years.
ABC News explained that no charges have been brought against Assange in cases of alleged sexual misconduct and that he is wanted only for questioning. Assange maintains his innocence. So far, it is unclear if a secret grand jury indictment has been made in the U.S. against him. Extradition to the U.S. is the main reason why Assange has remained at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over three-years.
The U.N. has no legal authority or jurisdiction in the matter and can only act as an advisor on the case.
Since this report was first composed, the United Nation’s panel of experts has weighed in with their official opinion on Mr. Assange’s freedom. The panel has ruled in favor of the WikiLeaks founder, but all the same, the British and Swedish governments have rejected the panel’s ruling.