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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asks London court to drop United Kingdom arrest warrant

28 January, 2018, 00:22 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Assange lawyers ask UK court to lift arrest warrant

A British judge will rule on February 6 whether to drop an arrest warrant against Julian Assange that stems from his breach of bail conditions, as the WikiLeaks founder steps up efforts to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy after more than five years.

Mark Summers told Westminster Magistrates Court that the arrest warrant had "lost its objective and its function".

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.

Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London five and a half years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was being investigated for sexual assault and rape allegations.

The Wikileaks founder entered the embassy in 2012 over fears he would be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges after he leaked leak of thousands of classified documents relating to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite Swedish prosecutors dropping their probe into the allegations, Assange still faces arrest by British police for failing to comply with the terms of his 2012 bail.


"We say it's lost its objective and its function", he said.

In 2012, Assange and his guarantors forfeited more than 110,000 pounds ($156,000) when he skipped bail and his defence team said he had already spent 5-1/2 years in conditions which were "akin to imprisonment". They argue that Assange shouldn't be immune from the law simply because he has managed to evade justice for years.

Ecuador also asked London to recognise Assange as a diplomat - which would give him safe passage out of the embassy without fear of arrest - but Britain refused.

British police have said the charge of skipping bail was a much less serious offence than rape, but he could still face up to a year in jail if convicted.

To some, Assange is a cyber hero who exposed government abuses of power.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, the judge who is now also presiding over the extradition trial of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya - the next hearing date for which remains uncertain, reserved her judgement in the Assange case after a hearing on Friday.

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