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lakeelmoleader.com February 21, 2018


Court decision due on Assange arrest warrant

07 February 2018, 01:18 | Kara Nash

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

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

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

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

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.

Assange entered the embassy in June 2012 to dodge a European arrest warrant and extradition to Sweden over a 2010 probe there into rape and sexual assault allegations.

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

But even if the judge had dropped the British arrest warrant, WikiLeaks warned Assange could face life in prison in the United States on charges of espionage, conspiracy and theft related to WikiLeaks' publishing of secret US government cables.

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Watkins said the case against Assange was "extremely simple" in that he had failed to surrender to custody in answer to bail, therefore the warrant still stood.

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

In December, Assange was granted Ecuadorean citizenship after applying for it months earlier.

However, she allowed Assange's lawyer to make a new set of arguments challenging whether it is in the public interest to continue the case against Assange, and said she would rule on them next week.

The Foreign Office condemned this, saying it "completely rejects any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention".

Police called off round-the-clock watch outside the embassy in October 2015 but a plane to arrest him should he leave remains in place.



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