Published: Wed, February 07, 2018

Judge Upholds UK Warrant Against Julian Assange

Judge Upholds UK Warrant Against Julian Assange

Assange sought asylum in the embassy because he feared Swedish police would eventually extradite him to the USA, where he could face decades in jail over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of secret military documents in 2010.

A United Kingdom court will rule later today on whether an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be dropped.

Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder had argued that the warrant should be dismissed because it had "lost its objective and function" after the investigation over sex-related allegations was dropped past year.

Mr Assange, has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, since 2012 in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault allegation.

The judge, Emma Arbuthnot, did not immediately explain her reasons, saying only, "I am not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn".

Judges will hear and decide on the other points on Tuesday afternoon, and if Assange wins any of them, the warrant falls. "If he has no reasonable cause he will be guilty of an offence", ruled the judge.

As US Grand Jury decisions are made in secret, Assange can not know what Washington has in store, but he's probably taken an educated guess.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued for the Australian, but after Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation past year Mr Assange's lawyers applied for the withdrawal of the warrant claiming that it had "lost its goal and its function".

After the decision, Assange's lawyer Mark Summers asked her to consider whether it would be in the public interest to continue pursuing his client for breach of bail conditions.

His lawyer said the bail case should be dropped now that Sweden doesn't want to charge Assange.

Tuesday's ruling prolongs a stalemate that has kept Assange as Ecuador's houseguest for 5? years. Some carried placards reading "Assange safe passage" and "Don't shoot the messenger". He drew global attention in 2010 for leaking thousands of classified US military and diplomatic documents, which infuriated American officials.

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

For three years, the Metropolitan Police maintained a permanent guard outside the embassy in case he left, but stopped this in 2015, citing the cost.

For some, Assange is an activist who exposed government abuses of power and championed free speech.

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