United Kingdom court upholds arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today lost a legal bid to have his United Kingdom arrest warrant declared invalid - although an appeal is possible.

Assange, who is entering his sixth years inside the embassy, had hoped to have his warrant rescinded because it had "lost its goal and function" now he is no longer wanted by Swedish authorities over sexual assault allegations.

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

Judge Emma Arbuthnot said in her judgement: "Many authorities underline the importance of a defendant attending court when bailed to do so and they describe the way that the administration of justice can be undermined by defendants who fail to attend".

He has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over six years following a sex assualt-related case brought by the Swedish prosecutors.

Assange has been holed up in the embassy since he took refuge there in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.

The Wikileaks founder has consistently denied the allegations of rape and sexual assault.

But she said she would rule separately on another application from Assange's lawyers asking her to consider whether it would be in the "public interest" to keep the warrant in place.

Assange has refused to leave the embassy, claiming he fears being extradited to the United States over WikiLeaks' publication of secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador's foreign minister, said Assange would not leave the embassy without security guarantees because he has received threats on his life.

His supporters hope that a court victory will force the British authorities to disclose whether such a warrant has been issued by the US authorities.

Swedish authorities a year ago dropped the charges against him because of the passage of time.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

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