Julian Assange Saga: Judge Ruling on Arrest Warrant

14 Febrero, 2018, 16:48 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaking on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London

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.

Assange's legal hurdles began in 2011, when Sweden requested that he be extradited there to face accusations that he had sexually assaulted two women. Mr Assange has been in the embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to the USA where he fears he may be charged over the publication of classified documents on the Wikileaks website.

Judge Arbuthnot described Mr Assange as "a man who wants to impose his own terms on the course of justice, whether the course of justice is in this jurisdiction or Sweden".

But she said she would rule on Tuesday on another application from Assange's lawyers asking her to consider whether it would be in the "public interest" to keep the warrant in place.

She said: "I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years". He suspects there is a secret USA grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot delivered her ruling on Tuesday at Westminster magistrates court in London stating it is in the public interest to pursue him for failing to surrender to his bail. "There must be documents where they discussed this case and probably there are documents addressing discussions, maybe an actual request for extradition, and this is why we were denied documents", she said.

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

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters last April that arresting Assange was "a priority".

But this was a bad day for Mr Assange, who appears to be running out of options to leave the Ecuadorian embassy and not face arrest.

Assange's lawyers asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Assange said: "We are surprised". Since being granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. British police mounted a round-the-clock guard to prevent his escape, saying he would be arrested should he leave.

After the ruling, Assange claimed there were "significant factual errors in the judgment" and suggested he might appeal.

The Australian became an Ecuadorian citizen on December 12. The unknown CPS lawyer, who was dealing with the Assange case and whose name is redacted, told his Swedish counterpart, Marianne Ny, "It is simply incredible how much work this case is generating".

"If that had happened there would have been a diplomatic crisis between the UK, Sweden and the U.S., which would have affected global relationships and extradition proceedings between the states".

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