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United Kingdom court to decide validity of Assange arrest warrant

United Kingdom court to decide validity of Assange arrest warrant”

A British judge on Tuesday upheld a United Kingdom arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, leaving him still a wanted man in the country where he has spent more than five years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy.

After Arbuthnot's rejection, Assange's lawyers asked her to drop the arrest warrant, arguing that it was no longer in the public interest.

Assange has spent the past five-and-a-half years holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London, as a result of the allegations.

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

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

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. He fled there after losing a series of court battles to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced allegations of sexual assault against two women.

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Swedish authorities dropped the rape charges in May 2017.

A judge ruled the 2012 warrant must stand, meaning Assange is still subject to arrest outside the walls of the embassy.

MPS Kensington and Chelsea tweeted: "Police attended the Ecuadorian Embassy in SW1 following reports of a small suspicious package". Though that case eventually timed out in May a year ago, 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.

Mr Assange promoted and defended the video, as well as a massive release of classified USA military documents relating to the Afghan and Iraq wars in July and October 2010. Assange had stayed at the embassy, fearing that extradition to Sweden could lead to an extradition by the U.S.

Assange was made an Ecuadorian citizen in December.



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