Assange Loses UK Warrant Fight Before Judge Who Says He Lacks Courage

Assange Loses UK Warrant Fight Before Judge Who Says He Lacks Courage

A British judge upheld [ruling, PDF] an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years hiding inside Ecuador's embassy [WP report] in London.

On Jan. 26, Assange's lawyers asked London's Westminster Magistrates Court to drop the arrest warrant against him because it no longer applied as Sweden's EAW had been withdrawn. In fact, she said, he could - and should - walk free at any time to meet his legal fate.

"He's a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice", Judge Emma Arbuthnot said. "He wants justice only when it's in his favor".

They also stand as an indictment of the Guardian's own role as cheerleader for the conspiracy undertaken by the US, British and Swedish governments against Assange.

Assange assures that the objective of his detention by the British authorities is to respond to a request from the United States, a country that demands his extradition to try him for the disclosure in 2010, through WikiLeaks, of files with thousands of military secrets and USA diplomatic documents.

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

"We are surprised. The judge went outside what the parties presented in court. This seems to have led to the significant factual errors in the judgement", the 46-year-old Australian said on Twitter. Assange has also voiced fears that the U.S. could seek his extradition and that there is a sealed United States indictment ordering his arrest. In court, Assange's legal team relied on a technical point, claiming the warrant has "lost its goal and function" if the underlying criminal proceedings against their client have ceased.

In a tweet, Mr Assange claimed Judge Arbuthnot had been mistaken in her ruling and indicated he will appeal the decision.

In February 2016, the United Nations panel confirms its view that Assange has been "arbitrarily detained", saying he should be able to claim compensation from Britain and Sweden. "In this vein, my visit to Julian Assange's cramped quarters was, above all, to protest the unjust, inhumane persecution to which Assange is being perpetually-subjected". However, British police said he would still be arrested if he left the embassy because there was an outstanding warrant for failing to surrender to bail.

WikiLeaks released in 2010 a trove of government documents provided by Chelsea Manning, a US Army analyst, which US officials said harmed national security.

In 2016, it published e-mails, hacked by Russian intelligence, that were damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said past year that arresting Assange was a priority for the Justice Department.

The following month, Swedish prosecutors offer to question Assange in London.

It is almost six years since Julian Assange disguised himself as a motorcycle courier and entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London to seek political asylum.

The judge described his lawyer's argument on this point as "arguably wrong" (a strong condemnation from the otherwise reserved English judiciary), adding: "On the face of it, the reason for stopping the [Swedish] investigation is Mr Assange's absence from the court proceedings in Sweden and on that basis extradition may not be barred were the Swedish request still in place".

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