Judge Denies Assange's Request To Drop UK Arrest Warrant

Judge Denies Assange's Request To Drop UK Arrest Warrant

Judge Denies Assange's Request To Drop UK Arrest Warrant

"I'm not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn", Judge Emma Arbuthnot said in her ruling.

"That is the background", said Mr Summers, adding that the "application is concerned with what we say is the impact of the withdrawing of the European Arrest Warrant".

Assange's defenders call him a freedom fighter who's being persecuted for telling the truth.

If the court rules in Assange's favour, 46-year-old will be able to walk out of the Knightsbridge embassy - with up to £18million stashed in bitcoin accounts after investing in 2010. He has refrained from leaving, he said, because he fears that if he does, the British government will extradite him to the United States, where he is facing multiple charges for leaking classified information.

The judge agreed that Assange's legal team could make a public-interest argument and set another hearing on the matter for February 13.

In front of a packed public gallery, the judge said the offence of not surrendering to bail was a standalone offence under the Bail Act.

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.

Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson said after the court session that he is willing to face British justice if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the U.S.to face prosecution.

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

On Tuesday, the court ruled the warrant is still valid. Earlier this month, he was granted Ecuadorean citizenship.

If Assange leaves the embassy, he could be arrested, but what would happen after that is unclear.

If the British case against Assange is dropped, it might make it easier for Assange to obtain diplomatic status, which could ease his way for possible travel to Ecuador without risking arrest and extradition proceedings.

Assange tweeted to condemn "wall to wall fake news stating the government won today's hearing", insisting his legal team was still fighting the warrant on other grounds.

A prosecutor did however say that if Assange is ever passing through Sweden, he should still pop in.

But Arbuthnot said such issues could be considered only if Assange were to be brought to court to explain his failure to surrender to bail.

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