- London ends 24-hour guards at Ecuador embassy
- Assange could soon be questioned after Ecuador-Sweden deal
London: The outcome of a United Nations investigation into the case of Julian Assange is set to be revealed and could rule that the WikiLeaks founder is being detained illegally.
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years and has been granted political asylum by the Ecuador government.
The Australian is wanted for questioning in Sweden over one sex assault allegation, which he has always denied.
He believes he will be transported to the US to be quizzed over the activities of WikiLeaks if he goes to Sweden. There is an espionage case against him in the US.
He filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain in September 2014 that has been considered by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The five members of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention who will make the decision on Assange include one Australian: legal expert Leigh Toomey.
Ms Toomey was appointed last year and previously taught human rights and criminal justice at Queensland University of Technology, and worked on Australia's delegation to the UN General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights.
The group has made previous rulings on whether imprisonment or detention is lawful, which have led to people being released.
It is understood that a decision will be published on Friday. If the group concludes that Assange is being unlawfully detained, the UN is expected to call on Britain and Sweden to release him.
Assange has offered to be interviewed inside the embassy by Swedish prosecutors.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has said that questions submitted by Swedish prosecutors will be asked by Ecuadorian officials.
The Swedish prosecutor handling the case, Marianne Ny, is believed to be still considering a request to let Ecuadorian officials do the interrogation.
Before entering the embassy, Assange was under house arrest and in prison since December 2010. He has not been charged.
However, Assange will not walk out of the embassy the moment the decision comes out, even if it is in his favour, his lawyer Melinda Taylor told Fairfax on Tuesday.
"It is then a matter of calling on the UK and Sweden to apply their international obligations," she said.
"We would obviously expect the United Kingdom and Sweden to comply ... and to implement immediately any measures required to ensure conformity with these obligations.
"He would have to be given the right to freedom of movement."
If the UK refused then Assange could pursue it through other international or domestic courts, Ms Taylor said, with the backing of the UN decision.
WGAD decisions have previously been influential in ending the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar and the former president of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed.
However, the group also called in 2014 for the release of Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt , who has not been released.
Assange's legal team argued to the UN group that their client's apparent freedom to walk out of the embassy at any time was "completely illusory" because he would be immediately arrested by British police, Ms Taylor said.
Also, "unless he is afforded safe passage to Ecuador [there remains] the risk of potential extradition to the United States, where he is likely to be subjected to persecution/cruel and inhumane treatment due to his whistle-blowing activities.
"Mr Assange's physical departure from the embassy would be contingent on these issues being addressed in an effective manner."
Ms Taylor said the UN Working Group had already made their their determination and informed the countries involved, however, the decision will be made public - and Assange himself informed - on Friday, most likely in the morning, London time.
The group made their decision based on written submissions from Assange, the UK and Sweden, and applied domestic law as well as international human rights law.
PA with Nick Miller