Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Assange fails to make skipped bail arrest warrant vanish

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost a legal bid to have a UK warrant for his arrest set aside WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost a legal bid to have a UK warrant for his arrest set aside
Lillian Steele | 07 February, 2018, 01:22

A United Kingdom warrant to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is still valid, a British court has ruled.

Mr Assange's lawyers went to court last month to argue the warrant served no goal because he was no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden in relation to alleged sex offences.

The outstanding warrant stands from 2012, which is in connections with the Swedish investigation, even through it was closed down a year ago.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot dismissed calls from Assange's lawyers at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court saying, "I am not persuaded the warrant should be withdrawn", Bloomberg reports.

The Foreign Office last month rejected Ecuador's request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, which would have given him immunity from arrest.

Assange only very rarely emerges on the balcony of the embassy building, citing concerns for his personal safety, but frequently takes part in media conferences and campaigns via video link.

The warrant was issued in 2012 after Assange allegedly breached bail conditions by seeking asylum in the embassy.

Even if Assange's arrest warrant has been dropped, he could have still been extradited to the U.S. to face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified USA military and diplomatic documents in 2010 - which amounted to one of the largest information leaks in United States history.

"Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice", the British government said.

A British judge will rule on February 13 whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can have his arrest warrant, for breaching bail conditions, lifted on "public interest grounds". "And that is when Mr. Assange will be able to place that before the court", the judge said.

Swedish authorities previous year dropped the charges against him because of the passage of time. Last year, WikiLeaks released documents detailing US government hacking tools.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

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