Judge Turns Down Assange Request With Biting Words

She once again upholds British arrest warrant
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 13, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Assange's Latest Attempt to Leave Embassy Fails
In this May 19, 2017, file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures to supporters outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, FILE)

A British judge on Tuesday 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—who Bloomberg reports last week rejected arguments made by his team—rejected new arguments by Assange's lawyers that it's 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 has denied the allegations. Arbuthnot said Assange should come to court and make his case like any other defendant and didn't mince words in leveling her decision at Westminster Magistrates' Court, reports the AP.

"He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favor," she said. "Defendants on bail up and down the country ... come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do so, too." Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future. But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy. Assange's attorney argued that arresting him is no longer proportionate or in the public interest, saying the 5½ years Assange has spent inside the embassy were "adequate, if not severe" punishment for his actions.

(More Julian Assange stories.)

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