undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

United Kingdom judge upholds Julian Assange's arrest warrant

07 February 2018, 01:19 | Damon Campbell

Court to Make Decision on Validity of UK Arrest Warrant Against Julian Assange

5 2016 shows Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange coming out onto the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy to address the media in central London. Ben Stansali  AFP

Judge Emma Arbuthnot had earlier rejected a bid by Assange, who is holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, to have an arrest warrant against him dropped on different grounds.

Assange's lawyers went to court last month to argue that the British warrant serves no goal because he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex offences.

The ruling to uphold the arrest warrant will keep Assange's legal status unchanged, so he could be arrested for leaving Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has sought refuge and lived for more than five years.

Assange has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden - he claimed the sex was consensual - but he has long argued that there is an global effort led by Washington to persecute him for his role in the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified USA government documents, diplomatic cables and emails.

Last year, Sweden dropped its investigation into rape allegations against Assange because it was unable to get access to him.

The incident occured on the same day that a United Kingdom judge upheld an arrest warrant against Assange, who is wanted by London police for breaching his bail conditions after surrendering to authorities, and then absconding, in 2012.

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"Therefore the warrant stands", Watkins said, calling Assange's situation "extremely simple".

He has long feared that if he leaves the embassy he could be sent to the USA to face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

But in May 2017, Swedish prosecutors dropped their case against him as it was impossible to serve him notice.

In January, Julian Assange's advocates made an application to the court, explaining that his breach of former bail conditions was no longer valid as Sweden had withdrawn the European arrest warrant and proceedings against Assange had ended.

Assange has been staying - virtually imprisoned, he says - at the Ecuadoran Embassy for five years.

But even if Assange wins, he might decide to remain in the embassy because of fears over a possible secret USA indictment against him.

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