Julian Assange

Court turns down Julian Assange’s attempt to have arrest warrant revoked

Julian Assange has lost his attempt to have his UK arrest warrant revoked.

Lawyers for the Wikileaks founder had argued that the arrest warrant had “lost its purpose” after Swedish extradition claims over sexual assault allegations were dropped.

The UK warrant was issued in 2012 after he was said to have breached bail conditions by seeking asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London where he has since lived.

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magistrate Emma Arbuthnot has told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that she is “not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn”.

She said that whistleblower had committed an offence under the Bail Act by refusing to surrender to bail and must explain why he failed to do so.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, and Assange remains in the Ecuadorean Embassy.

Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers asked Judge Arbuthnot to consider whether it would be in the public interest to continue pursuing his client for breach of bail.

But she said that would usually only be considered if somebody were brought to court to explain their failure to surrender to bail.

Mark Summers pleaded exceptional circumstances in this case.

His clients has repeatedly pointed out that if he leaves the Embassy where he has been holed up for half a decade he fears being extradited to the US where he could face a severe sentence for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.

Donald Trump’s newly appointed attorney general Jeff Sessions has declared the arrest of Assange a “priority.”

The UK government recently refused to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status, calling him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy to “face justice” with no guarantee that he will not be extradited to the US.

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