Saturday 23 June 2018

Assange fights on after arrest warrant stands

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last summer. Photo: Getty Images
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last summer. Photo: Getty Images

Scott D'Arcy and Alan Jones

Julian Assange has vowed to continue a legal fight against a UK arrest warrant after a judge ruled it was still valid.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected his legal team's argument the warrant issued in 2012 was no longer valid because an investigation by the Swedish authorities into a sex-related allegation had been dropped.

But the WikiLeaks founder's lawyers went on to argue at Westminster Magistrates' Court it was no longer proportionate or in the public interest to pursue him for failing to answer bail at a police station as he fought extradition to Sweden.

After the hearing, Mr Assange said his case had exposed "improper conduct" by the Crown Prosecution Service and his legal team's case could still be successful.

Mr Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than five years, fearing extradition to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves.

The judge said she was not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn.

She said: "One, Mr Assange has been bailed, two, he has failed to surrender, and three, if he has no reasonable cause he will be guilty of an offence."

Judge Arbuthnot adjourned the case until February 13, when she will give her judgment on the public interest argument.

Irish Independent

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