Fugitive Julian Assange 'considers himself above the law', says British judge

Fugitive Julian Assange 'considers himself above the law', says British judge

Julian Assange has lost his latest attempt to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy without fear of being detained after his legal bid to have his arrest warrant quashed was rejected.

Though Sweden revoked a European arrest warrant for Assange previous year, the Westminster court issued the warrant at issue in 2012 when Assange ignored a notice to surrender for extradition.

But the WikiLeaks founder's lawyers went on to argue at Westminster Magistrates' Court that it was no longer proportionate or in the public interest to pursue him for failing to answer bail at a police station as he fought extradition to Sweden.

The 46-year-old sought asylum in the embassy because he feared Swedish police would eventually send him to the United States over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of secret military documents in 2010.

"Not looking good", Assange's Twitter feed said before the final verdict.

His argument relied on four points: that Assange had reasonable grounds for the course that he took; that the United Nations has ruled he's been arbitrarily detained; that he offered his cooperation to the Swedish investigators at all times; and that his years of embassy exile could be considered an adequate punishment for his actions.

In January this year, Ecuador granted Assange citizenship after Britain refused a request for him to be given diplomatic status, saying he would face justice if he left the embassy.

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During his successful election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump praised Assange's organisation for releasing hacked emails from Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers, telling a rally in October 2016 "I love WikiLeaks".

"It would be a risky precedent to set if the warrant could just be withdrawn on public interest grounds, because that would be seen as a reward for individuals who decide to avoid administrative justice", he said. He suspects there is a secret USA grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

The existence of a USA extradition warrant has neither been confirmed nor denied.

"The history of the case from start to finish is extraordinary", she said.

Assange would be arrested should he leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has spent over five years to avoid extradition to Sweden. In November Britain's High Court rejects an appeal against his extradition. He has a serious tooth problem and is in need of dental treatment and needs an MRI scan on a shoulder which has been described as frozen.

The Ecuadorian authorities, to try to find a way out of uncomfortable political mess in which y have been immersed, granted last December Ecuador's nationality to Assange.

Confidential Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) emails published by the Guardian's Sunday sister paper, the Observer, reveal that British prosecutors warned their Swedish counterparts not to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange on trumped-up "sexual assault" allegations as early as 2013.

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