Julian Assange arrest warrant still valid, judge rules

Julian Assange arrest warrant still valid, judge rules

Assange's lawyer Mark Summers had previously told the court the bail arrest warrant had "lost its objective and its function" when Sweden withdrew the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

The outstanding warrant stands from 2012, which is in connections with the Swedish investigation, even through it was closed down a year ago.

"I am not persuaded the warrant should be withdrawn", Arbuthnot told lawyers, journalists and Assange supporters gathered at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court.

FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017.

Assange entered the embassy in June 2012 to dodge a European arrest warrant and extradition to Sweden over a 2010 probe there into rape and sexual assault allegations.

Assange, 46, has hidden out in the embassy for the last five years, avoiding extradition to Sweden on rape charges, as well as a bail-violation rap in the UK.

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He drew global attention in 2010 for leaking thousands of classified US military and diplomatic documents, which infuriated American officials.

An attorney for Assange told a district judge since the Swedish case had been dropped, the warrant had "lost its goal and its function".

His supporters hope that a court victory will force the British authorities to disclose whether such a warrant has been issued by the US authorities. Though that case eventually timed out in May a year ago, the unwelcome guest has stayed put because he fears being arrested by British police and handed over to the Americans, who want to prosecute him over his WikiLeaks website. Last month, Ecuador said it had granted the Australian-born hacker citizenship in a bid to break the logjam.

Wikileaks, which was founded by Mr Assange in 2006, has been involved in several high-profile releases of classified United States information.

He could still be arrested for leaving Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has lived for years.

"We hope this situation will come to an end very soon and we look forward to the decision next week", Robinson said.