British judge upholds Julian Assange's warrant for arrest

The Wikileaks founder has been living in the Embassy of Ecuador in London for over five years

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published February 13, 2018 6:33PM (EST)

Julian Assange   (Getty/Carl Court)
Julian Assange (Getty/Carl Court)

British authorities are waning in their toleration of programmer and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since being granted asylum to Ecuador in 2012. On Feb. 13, Judge Emma Arbuthnot upheld Assange’s arrest warrant for the second time in a week.

“[Assange] is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice,” Arbuthnot said. “He wants justice only when it’s in his favor.”

Assange tweeted that he and his legal team were surprised by the ruling, and hinted at a repeal.

“We are surprised,” Assange said. “Judge went well outside what the parties presented in court. This seems to have led to many factual errors in the judgment. US DoJ confirmed to Reuters again yesterday that its case is ongoing. There are 3 months to appeal judge's decision.”

On Feb. 6, Judge Arbuthnot refuted a claim that the warrant was void. This news came after the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a United Nations coalition, “considered that the detention should be brought to an end and that Mr. Assange should be afforded the right to compensation.”

Assange said via the Wikileaks Twitter that if the UN ruled against him he would have accepted arrest by British police.

Judge Arbuthnot dismissed the coalition’s finding.

Arbuthnot wrote in the ruling:

“The Working Group considered Mr Assange’s stay in the Embassy as a “prolongation of the already continued deprivation of liberty that had been conducted in breach of the principles of reasonableness, necessity and proportionality” (paragraph 90). I do not consider the 550 days on conditional bail to be a period of deprivation of liberty 6 but a restriction to Mr Assange’s freedom. I consider the same in relation to his decision to live in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

This move means Assange could still be detained if he leaves the embassy of Ecuador in London. The judge could have nullified the arrest warrant; it is unclear if Assange would have left if that was the case.

Assange has been living at the embassy for over five and a half years.

In 2011, Sweden requested that Assange be extradited because he was facing allegations that he had sexually assaulted two women. Assange claimed that the allegations were political, and feared Sweden would hand him off to the United States.

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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