Assange stalemate drags on as judge rules arrest warrant stands


Julian Assange's lawyers took a case to court in London today, asking for an arrest warrant against him to be dropped.

The former hacker fears that arrest by British authorities could lead to him being extradited to the United States over WikiLeaks' publication of secret U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

The call comes after a recent visit to London during which Stone, a longtime associate of President Donald Trump, visited the Ecuadorian embassy and left his contact information for Assange, who is in hiding in an effort to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced allegations of sexual abuse, The Guardian reported.

According to a new release of emails between officials, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to Britain's Crown Prosecution Service on 18 October 2013, warning that Swedish law would not allow the case to be continued. Assange's legal team contended that it was no longer in the public interest to arrest their client for jumping bail and avoiding extradition.

Ten days later a judge at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for his arrest.

In a stinging attack on Mr Assange, she said he appeared to "consider himself above the normal rules of law".

The UK government has not confirmed whether an extradition request exists.

Even if the bail arrest warrant were lifted, it is unknown whether Assange would leave the embassy and where he would go in that event. The CPS lawyer who handled the case against Assange commented on an article that suggested Sweden may drop the case in 2012 saying, "Don't you dare get cold feet!"

But Judge Arbuthnot pulled that apart as well - telling the United Nations it had "misunderstood" Mr Assange's situation.

"It is true that he has restricted freedom in the Ecuadorian embassy, but there is a distinction between being held in Wandsworth Prison and living in the embassy".

A journalist behind ongoing litigation to obtain documents relating to the case of Julian Assange believes that the Wikileaks founder's fears of being extradited to the U.S. are "completely rational".

In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there.

Swedish prosecutors told the CPS in 2013 that they "felt obliged" to lift the warrant, but only announced past year that it had finally been dropped.

"He should have the courage to do the same", she added.

Not only did the CPS refuse to release correspondence with the United States administration, but it was also revealed in a court case brought by Maurizi in November 2017 that the CPS had destroyed key emails after the CPS lawyer retired in 2014. He suspects the country has a sealed indictment ready for his prosecution because of his WikiLeaks releases.

Ecuador in December granted citizenship to the Australian-born Assange, and asked Britain to recognise him as a diplomat, in an unsuccessful attempt to provide him with immunity and usher him out of the embassy without the threat of arrest.