Julian Assange loses bid to have his UK arrest warrant dropped

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
By Paul Martin

13 Feb, 2018

An arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be dropped, a British judge has ruled. His lawyers had argued it was no longer in the public interest to arrest him.

Assange has spent more than five and a half years living in a single room inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He took refuge in the building in a bid to avoid extradition to the US over his role in publishing leaked diplomatic and military records.

The Wikileaks founder was wanted in Sweden for a rape investigation when he sought protection in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation last year, but the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stood.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot struck down all five points put forward by his lawyers, stating she doesn’t think Assange’s fears he would have been extradited from Sweden to the US are “reasonable.”

She added that the UN working group on arbitrary detention was “quite wrong” regarding his conditions. “There is a distinction between living in Wandsworth prison and in the Embassy,” the judge said.

“I do not consider 550 days on bail a deprivation, it was his own choice to live in the Embassy. He can leave whenever he wishes, has endless visitors, chooses his food, can sit on the balcony to have air, he is not locked in.”

“Restrictions on his freedom are lawful and proportionate, and cannot be criticized,” the judge added.

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