The Latest: Lawyer says Assange may seek safe passage out

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The Latest on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and impending finding by a U.N. body on his detention (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

A lawyer working with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he may seek safe passage to Ecuador if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in coming days.

The lawyer, Melinda Taylor, told The Associated Press Thursday that Assange's decision will be shaped by how Swedish and British authorities respond to a United Nations panel report on Assange's treatment expected Friday.

She said Assange seeks guarantees that he will not be extradited to the United States to face possible charges there. It is not clear if he is sought by U.S. authorities.

Taylor says seeking safe passage to Ecuador is one option because he has been granted political asylum in that South American country.


1:20 p.m.

A British lawmaker says police have a "legal obligation" to arrest and extradite Julian Assange under the terms of a European Arrest Warrant.

Alistair Carmichael, of the small Liberal Democrats party, says it is vital for the government to follow through on this warrant and extradite Assange to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about alleged sexual misconduct.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy but says he may turn himself in to police if a United Nations panel rejects his case when its report is published Friday.


11:50 a.m.

British police have said they still plan to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

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

That announcement was made in October when police removed the round-the-clock guard at the embassy, but said overt and covert means would still be used against Assange.

He is wanted by Swedish authorities for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct.

A U.N. panel is to rule Friday on whether the treatment of Assange has been fair.


5:10 a.m.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will accept arrest by British police if a U.N. working group on arbitrary detention decides that the three years he has spent holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy does not amount to illegal detention.

Writing on WikiLeaks' Twitter account Wednesday night, Assange said if the U.N. finds he has lost his case against the United Kingdom and Sweden then he will turn himself into police at noon on Friday.

"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.

Assange took refuge in Ecuador's British embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where two women have accused him of sexual assault.