United Kingdom court rejects bid by Julian Assange to have arrest warrant lifted

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador

"Mr Assange is not present at court today", said the judge who denied the cupboard-dwelling WikiLeaker's latest bid to make legal proceedings against him go away.

Assange, who is entering his sixth years inside the embassy, had hoped to have his warrant rescinded because it had "lost its objective and function" now he is no longer wanted by Swedish authorities over sexual assault allegations.

Assange has spent the past five-and-a-half years holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London, as a result of the allegations.

The outstanding warrant stands from 2012, which is in connections with the Swedish investigation, even through it was closed down a year ago.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate, said in a short judgment (PDF, five pages) that "it is for the accused to prove he has reasonable cause for his failure to surrender".

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FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017.

While Swedish prosecutors dropped the case past year due to its inability to extradite him, Assange is still subject to a British warrant for escaping bail in 2012.

Assange sought asylum in the embassy because he fears he will eventually be extradited to the USA and prosecuted over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of secret military documents in 2010.

An attorney for Assange told a district judge since the Swedish case had been dropped, the warrant had "lost its goal and its function".

London police responded to reports of a suspicious package at Ecuador's embassy in the city on Tuesday.

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In 2016, a United Nations panel called on Swedish and British authorities to end Assange's "deprivation of liberty".

In May past year, Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny said she was withdrawing the EAW because Assange's refusal to come to Sweden meant "all possibilities to advance the investigation have now been exhausted".

In December, Assange was granted Ecuadorean citizenship after applying for it months earlier.

British prosecutors had opposed the removal of the warrant, saying Assange shouldn't be immune from the law simply because he has managed to evade justice for a long time.

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