WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said he would hand himself in to British police Friday in the event of an unfavourable decision from a UN investigation.

"I will accept arrest by British police on Friday if UN rules against me," the 44-year-old Australian said on Twitter.

A UN working group is set to publish a determination on whether Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, is in effect illegally detained there.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum because he was afraid of a possible extradition to the United States, where he is wanted in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of top secret diplomatic cables.

In a BBC report on Thursday, a day before the panel announces its decision, the British broadcaster claimed to know that the panel would rule in favour of Assange.

Assange's legal team said the BBC report came from a deliberate leak by the British government, who already knew the UN panel's decision.

"If it is true, it is not only a great success for Assange," Per E Samuelson, a Swedish attorney representing the WikiLeaks founder, said of the report.

"It means that the prosecutor in Sweden in my firm view has to release Assange and drop the preliminary investigation."

"In that case he has been in detention for a far longer period than a possible sentence, were he to have been found guilty in Sweden," Samuelson adds.

Assange's legal team said it was awaiting official confirmation of the UN panel decision.

"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," Assange had announced on Thursday.

"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."

A spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority said they had no comment and were waiting for the UN panel decision on Friday.

Swedish authorities have requested Assange's extradition in connection with several sexual assault allegations. Assange has said he fears further extradition from Sweden on to the US, where he faces other charges.

US authorities are thought to be investigating Assange over the publication of sensitive diplomatic documents, including on the conflict in Afghanistan, by WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing organization he founded.

A rape allegation against Assange is still being investigated, but other cases concerning sexual assaults have been dropped due to the statute of limitations.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a five-member independent and impartial body appointed by the UN. Its current members are from Australia, Benin, Mexico, South Korea and Ukraine.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.