UK court: WikiLeaks Assange's warrant of arrest stays

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A UK judge has refused to cancel a warrant for Julian Assange, meaning that the WikiLeaks founder still faces arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has taken up residence.

Mr Assange has been staying at the embassy since 2012, claiming he fears extradition to the US.

Assange was granted political asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

Assange launched WikiLeaks in 2006, creating a web-based "dead letter drop" for would-be leakers. "It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed". "He wants justice only when it's in his favor".

The public gallery was full of journalists and supporters, some of whom stood along the wall and sat on the stairs.

They said he had no sunlight and was suffering from depression, respiratory infections, dental problems and a frozen shoulder for which he could not get treatment. On Dec. 7, 2010, Assange was arrested by British police on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Sweden. To dodge extradition, Assange entered the embassy disguised as a motorcycle courier after Ecuador offered him immunity. "He should have the courage to do so too".

Should the judge rule in Assange's favour on Tuesday, it remains unlikely that he will leave the embassy immediately. Mr Assange denies the allegations. "If that had happened there would have been a diplomatic crisis". Britain called that description "ridiculous", saying his detention was voluntary.

If the warrant stands, however, it's likely he won't be going anywhere. Having weighed up the factors for and against and considered [Assange's attorney's] arguments, I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr. Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot is expected to rule on that point at Westminster Magistrates Court today.

Julian Assange is set to extend his stay in Ecuador's London embassy after losing his appeal to have his UK arrest warrant dropped.

The judge was critical of Assange's decision to avoid the British justice system and added that he had access to the internet, a computer and 'unrestricted visitors' during his five year stint in the embassy.

Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke glowingly of the organization's release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, saying at a campaign rally "I love WikiLeaks". "Julian Assange is being harassed because of WikiLeaks". Sweden dropped the investigation in May 2017. A Justice Department official recently confirmed to Reuters this investigation was still open. WikiLeaks had published classified US military logs supplied by Chelsea Manning, who was charged under the Espionage Act. He also called Assange a "fraud" and a "coward".

Assange's lawyers believe there is a secret US indictment that will end up with him in an American court.

And she said if the US had asked for his extradition he could have appealed that through the British court system.