British Judge Upholds Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

British Judge Upholds Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

Assange's legal team had argued in Westminster Magistrates' Court that the United Kingdom arrest warrant for Assange should be dropped as it had "lost its objective and its function" since it's related to a sex crimes investigation against Assange in Sweden that has ended without him being charged with wrongdoing.

But senior district judge and chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot has told Westminster Magistrates' Court that she is "not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn".

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

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now staying at the embassy, where he has been living since 2012.

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

As things stand, if he were to leave the embassy, he would face arrest by British police for breaching bail conditions when he fled there instead of handing himself in to be sent to Sweden.




His supporters hope that a court victory will force the British authorities to disclose whether such a warrant has been issued by the US authorities.

The judge will give her decision later today.

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

Assange has refused to leave the embassy, claiming he fears being extradited to the United States over WikiLeaks' publication of secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010. Though that case eventually timed out in May past 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.

There are no formal charges in against Assange in the USA, though news reports a year ago suggested the Justice Department was looking into it.

"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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