United Kingdom judge upholds WikiLeaks founder Assange's arrest warrant

Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder asked the court to withdraw the warrant, saying it had "lost its purpose", the BBC reported.

Sweden dropped the rape case against him, but the Brits still want to take Assange to court for breaching the conditions of his bail.

The judge said that if Assange wanted the warrant lifted he should surrender to authorities and come to court.

Earlier this month, Ecuador granted citizenship to Assange after officials decided his living situation was unsustainable.

A warrant was subsequently issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court.

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The WikiLeaks founder fears that Sweden would extradite him to the United States, where he faces prosecution for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked USA military and diplomatic documents.

His legal team is now arguing that British authorities should stop pursuing him for breaching his bail terms because it was not in the public interest. Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected their reasoning.

A ruling in Assange's favour could pave the way for him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for over five years.

In the previous year, Assange has also been active in a campaign to support secessionists in the Catalonia region of Spain.

Arbuthnot said she would rule on those arguments February 13.

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Then we have the British legal system, which is now essentially deploying resources to arrest a man for skipping bail relating to Swedish charges that no longer exist.

USA officials haven't confirmed whether a request for Assange's extradition has been made.

Last month his legal team applied to have his United Kingdom arrest warrant stood down.

He tweeted that reports he had lost the appeal were "fake news" and said the hearing was still going on, with three other points yet to be decided.

She told the court that not surrendering to bail was a stand-alone offence under the Bail Act and Mr Assange must explain why he had failed to do so.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously said arresting Assange is "a priority".


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