Sunday, 27 May, 2018

London Court Upholds Assange's Arrest Warrant

Julian Assange CNN You Tube Screengrab
Sammy Stanley | 15 February, 2018, 14:14

Julian Assange on Tuesday lost a second bid to quash a British arrest warrant, another setback for the WikiLeaks founder, who has spent nearly six years holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

British authorities issued the warrant in 2012 after Assange, 46, skipped bail to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he faced allegations from two women of rape and sexual assault dating to 2010.

Julian Assange lost his bid to halt legal action against him in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, after a British high court judge knocked down nearly every argument put forward by his defense team.

"I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr. Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years", Arbuthnot stated. The Australian appears to think he's above the law and lacks courage, she said.

He highlighted a Guardian report which quoted emails sent by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to Swedish counterparts in 2012, urging them not to drop their application for a European arrest warrant. It's believed any indictment is related to Wikileaks publishing documents and cables delivered to them by former US military analyst Chelsea Manning on the Iraq War.

Mr Assange's lawyer had argued that the five-plus years Mr Assange had spent inside the embassy were "adequate, if not severe" punishment for his actions, noting that he had health problems including a frozen shoulder and depression.

Assange also said he had three months to appeal against the ruling.

Lawyers for Assange argued last week that the British warrant ought to be dropped given that the Swedish investigation into their client had been terminated, but their motion was denied.

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The judge said other defendants across the country and persons facing extradition visit the court to face the consequences of their choices.

The subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation since 2010, previously said he fear's he'll be extradited overseas if arrested by British authorities and subsequently charged in connection with publishing classified documents on his WikiLeaks website.

Arbuthnot said she did not believe Assange's fears of extradition to the US were "reasonable".

But he still faced arrest in the United Kingdom for jumping bail in 2012, when he sought asylum in the South American country's embassy and failed to surrender to court.

'It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed, ' said the judge.

"I have had to consider whether it is proportionate not to withdraw the warrant for his arrest". In our recent FOI challenge against the CPS [.] the CPS refused to disclose certain material because it would "tip off" Mr Assange about a possible USA extradition request.

If Assange leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been living in asylum for almost six years, he faces immediate arrest by London police.

"Firstly, he can leave the embassy whenever he wishes", she said.

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