Assange arrest warrant still active, United Kingdom court rules

Assange arrest warrant still active, United Kingdom court rules

Assange arrest warrant still active, United Kingdom court rules

Julian Assange has lost an appeal to have his arrest warrant for jumping bail dropped, meaning the Wikileaks founder looks set to stay holed up in London's Ecuadorian embassy.

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

A British judge rejected his lawyers' first argument that an existing arrest warrant against Assange should be withdrawn because the Swedish charges that underlie it have been shelved.

Olivia Harris / Reuters Julian Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, the year he is pictured here.

The warrant was issued for the WikiLeaks founder in 2012 after sexual abuse allegations from the Swedish government were leveled against him.

"The proper approach is that when a discrete, standalone offence of failing to surrender occurs, it always remains open to this court to secure the arrest", he said. She said she would make that ruling on February 13, according to The Times. Though that case eventually timed out in May previous year, the unwelcome guest has stayed put because he fears being arrested by British police and handed over to the Americans, who want to prosecute him over his WikiLeaks website.

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The WikiLeaks founder fears that Sweden would extradite him to the United States, where he faces prosecution for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked USA military and diplomatic documents.

Had the judge ruled in Mr Assange's favour, he would have been free to leave the embassy without being arrested on the British warrant.

He could still be arrested for leaving Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has lived for 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.

But prosecutor Aaron Watkins earlier called Assange's court bid "absurd". Last year, WikiLeaks released documents detailing USA government hacking tools.

"In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him".

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