The Latest: Judge upholds UK arrest warrant for Assange
LONDON – The Latest on the British arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (all times local):
A British judge has upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years evading the law inside Ecuador’s London embassy.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot wasn’t persuaded by arguments by Assange’s lawyers that it was no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012 and seeking shelter in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women. He denied the allegations.
Arbuthnot said Tuesday she finds “arrest is a proportionate response” to Assange’s actions.
A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is citing a report by a United Nations committee to argue that a British arrest warrant issued in 2012 after Assange skipped bail should be thrown out.
Lawyer Mark Summers said the U.N. committee’s report concluded that Assange was being arbitrarily detained, adding that the 5½ years Assange has spent inside Ecuador’s London embassy are “adequate, if not severe” punishment for his actions.
Some lawyers who have followed the case said the arguments were unlikely to sway the judge who is set to rule on Tuesday afternoon whether to quash or uphold the warrant.
Even if the judge lifts the British arrest warrant, Assange’s legal problems may not be over. He suspects there is a secret U.S. grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.
A British judge is scheduled to quash or uphold an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years inside Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid detention.
Assange’s lawyers argue that it’s no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012. Judge Emma Arbuthnot is expected to rule Tuesday afternoon.
Assange was wanted in Sweden for a rape investigation when he sought protection in the Ecuadorean embassy. Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation last year, but the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands.
Assange’s lawyers asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week.
Assange’s attorneys went on to argue that 5½ years in the embassy has been punishment enough.