It’s literally high noon for Julian Assange; the founder of WikiLeaks claims that he will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London at noon GMT on Friday, February the 5th- if a UN investigation determines that he had not been illegally detained.
He will agree to allow British police to arrest him on Friday if a UN investigation into the three and a half years he has been forced to stay in the Ecuadorian embassy determines that he was not illegally detained.
The UN working group on arbitrary detention will submit its ruling on Assange on Friday morning, GMT.
Assange said in a WikiLeaks statement released on Twitter that he would leave if found not to have been illegally detained.
However, if the ruling is in his favor, he demanded fair treatment, that his passport be returned and authorities should stop trying to imprison him.
“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.
“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.”
Swedish authorities sought his extradition so that they could question him for two allegations of sexual assault made by two women. Assange has pointed out that the demands to be questioned in Sweden would lead to further extradition to the US, which might still be investigating the publication of the Afghan war diary and United States diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks.
Chelsea Manning, the whistle-blower who provided the key documents used by WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in prison– the longest ever in a case involving a leak of US government information for the sole purpose of having it be known to the public. Her stay at the maximum-security prison in Fort Leavenworth includes the constant threat of indefinite solitary confinement. Assange understands that he faces a bleak future if extradited to the US.
The Swedish authorities have only recently agreed to question Assange in the embassy, rather than await his extradition to Sweden. Assange’s return would obviously render the agreement quite pointless.
“Julian has been offering his statement to the prosecutor by various means for five years [in total] and for three-and-a-half years since he went into the embassy – whether via videolink or by the prosecutor coming to London,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for WikiLeaks said.
“Let’s hope [the interview] can be carried out as soon as possible. Julian is very eager to get his point of view into the investigation.”
“When all necessary permits and arrangements are ready, the interview will be performed by the supporting prosecutor to the case, chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, together with a police investigator,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said.
Late last year, Swedish authorities said that they were ceasing their inquiries into the two counts of alleged sexual molestation and one count of alleged unlawful coercion; the remaining allegation of rape was still the subject of inquiries.
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