Assange asks court to drop arrest warrant

Ann Santiago
January 28, 2018

WikiLeaks' Assange could be free to walk out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London if his application to quash the arrest warrant for breach of bail conditions is successful, according to the British Prosecution Service.

Mr Assange's lawyers are asking the Westminster Magistrates Court to drop the arrest warrant because the Swedish extradition request is "no longer live".

Summers' argument was a technical one: that the goal of the arrest warrant was to allow underlying legal proceedings to continue and not for bringing someone to court to face a separate bail offence.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot said evidence presented to the court detailed Assange's health issues included "a awful bad tooth, frozen shoulder and depression".

Julian Assange will learn next month if the warrant for his arrest will be dropped, after his five-year standoff with police.

The court heard that Assange was suffering from a bad tooth, a frozen shoulder and depression.

In a case summary handed to the court, his defence lawyer Mark Summers said: "He has spent five and a half years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril".

He had feared Sweden would hand him over to the U.S. to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of classified military and diplomatic documents, one of the largest information leaks in American history.

Ecuador granted Assange citizenship in December. He is expected to leave for the South American country if he is allowed to step out of the embassy in Knightsbridge, central London.

"We say it's lost its goal and its function", he said. It's thought the move was created to allow him safely leave the United Kingdom under diplomatic immunity, but the United Kingdom government has denied the request.

The court's decision is expected to be announced on February 6.

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