United Kingdom court rejects bid by Julian Assange to have arrest warrant lifted

Julian Assange

England Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot is expected to make her ruling on Julian Assange's arrest warrant on Wednesday, following a request from his team of lawyers who argued that the charges have been dropped and the warrant has "lost its objective". However, the British police could arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy, for breaching his bail conditions when he sought refuge there, Reuters said.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said the incident was "stood down" after the package was assessed.

Earlier this month, Ecuador granted citizenship to Assange after officials decided his living situation was unsustainable.

The Westminster Magistrates' Court heard Mr Assange had "offered to be interviewed in this jurisdiction" and "articulated his fear" at being handed over to America from a Swedish prison.

However, Assange suspects there is a secret US grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

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His legal team is now arguing that British authorities should stop pursuing him for breaching his bail terms because it was not in the public interest.

She said that whistleblower had committed an offence under the Bail Act by refusing to surrender to bail and must explain why he failed to do so.

In the previous year, Assange has also been active in a campaign to support secessionists in the Catalonia region of Spain.

"His health issues are not that bad", said Arbuthnot.

Ahead of Tuesday's ruling, a small group of Assange supporters gathered outside the court in central London.

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There are no formal charges in against Assange in the USA, though news reports past year suggested the Justice Department was looking into it. She said the Ecuadorean government is seeking a "dignified and just" solution in his case with the British government.

It is not publicly known whether there is a sealed USA indictment against Assange.

If the British case against Assange is dropped, it might make it easier for Assange to obtain diplomatic status, which could ease his way for possible travel to Ecuador without risking arrest and extradition proceedings.

NBC News reports prosecutors argued dropping the warrant would reward Assange for avoiding the law.

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".

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