Judge maintains Assange UK arrest warrant

07 February, 2018, 01:18 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

An arrest warrant against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is still valid, Westminster Magistrates' Court has ruled.

Assange's lawyer Mark Summers had argued in court last week that the warrant had "lost its objective and its function".

Senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot is due to give her ruling on Tuesday, although either side can appeal against the decision.

Julian Assange has claimed a package containing a "threat" and white substance was sent to him at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Months later Swedish authorities sought to question him about an allegation of rape which he denied.

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The WikiLeaks founder applied to have a warrant for skipping bail quashed, which would free him to leave the embassy, where he has hidden since June 2012, without fear of arrest. Assange has said his extradition to Sweden was merely a ploy to eventually have him extradited to the United States (Foreign Policy), where he faces potential espionage charges for his publishing work at WikiLeaks.

It added Assange was "in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy".

Sky's David Bowden, at the court, said the judge was now looking at case law to see if she could consider the reasonable cause argument without Assange present.

His supporters hope that a court victory will force the British authorities to disclose whether such a warrant has been issued by the USA authorities.

Assange has refused to leave the embassy, claiming he fears being extradited to the United States over WikiLeaks' publication of secret U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

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A judge ruled the 2012 warrant must stand, meaning Assange is still subject to arrest outside the walls of the embassy.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the case past year, saying all possible leads had been "exhausted".

It is not publicly known whether there is a sealed USA indictment against Assange.

Julian Assange won't be seeing the outside world anytime soon.

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