The WikiLeaks founder, who is wanted for extradition on a rape accusation in Sweden and has lived in the embassy since June 2012, said earlier Thursday that he expected to be treated as a free man if the panel rules in his favour.

In September 2014, Assange filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UNWGAD, claiming his confinement in the embassy amounted to illegal detention.

"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," he said.

Rulings by the UN group are not legally binding, although the Justice for Assange group claims its rulings influenced the release of prominent figures including Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi and Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who was held by Iran for 18 months.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Per Samuelsson told AFP that a ruling in his client's favour meant prosecutor Marianne Ny would have to ask a court to lift the arrest warrant issued against him.

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