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Judge refuses to withdraw Julian Assange arrest warrant

Published: February 13, 2018
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Source: The Guardian

Julian Assange will continue to face detention if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a British judge upheld a warrant for his arrest.

Handing down her judgment before a packed courtroom at Westminster magistrates court, senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail.

She said: “I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years. 

“Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition, come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed.”

Assange, 46, skipped bail to enter the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he denies.

Though Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation against him, he faces arrest if he leaves the building in Knightsbridge, London, for breaching his former bail conditions in the UK.

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