United Kingdom court to decide validity of Assange arrest warrant

Julian Assange

A Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday rejected a legal attempt to withdraw his United Kingdom arrest warrant by Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder.

A British judge rejected his lawyers' first argument that an existing arrest warrant against Assange should be withdrawn because the Swedish charges that underlie it have been shelved.

The Swedish case has since been dropped but in the eyes of the British authorities, Assange remains in breach of his bail conditions.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate, said in a short judgment (PDF, five pages) that "it is for the accused to prove he has reasonable cause for his failure to surrender".

He said the United Nations had ruled that Mr Assange's situation at present was "arbitrary, unreasonable and disproportionate" and his conduct in failing to answer bail had not had "the usual outcome of paralysing the underlying legal proceedings". He has refrained from leaving, he said, because he fears that if he does, the British government will extradite him to the USA, where he is facing multiple charges for leaking classified information.

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Haig advertised armor-piercing incendiary ammunition on his website, which now says the business is "closed indefinitely". The only other person of interest named in search warrants was Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley.

His supporters say his health has deteriorated significantly during his years in the embassy, and the London court heard he had suffered depression, dental and shoulder problems.

London police responded to reports of a suspicious package at Ecuador's embassy in the city on Tuesday.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions a year ago said his arrest was a "priority". "Mr Assange failed to surrender to custody".

"Mr Assange had been released on bail in proceedings", said Mr Watkins.

Earlier this year Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said the South American nation was seeking a "third country or a personality" to broker a final settlement with the British government to resolve Mr Assange's future. A decision in Assange's favor would end Britain's case against him.

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