The warrant, which is centered on the WikiLeaks chief absconding bail, remains active in Britain.
Westminster Magistrates' Court has ruled against withdrawing an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The order, which is centered on the information activist absconding bail, remains active in the United Kingdom.
Emma Arbuthnot, the senior district judge who ruled on the case, said she was unconvinced by the argument presented by Assange's legal defense.
“I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr. Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years ... Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed,” she said.
Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy for over five years, will continue to face arrest if he leaves the premises.
The court was tasked with ruling on a legal bid to dismiss any further action against Assange on the charge. Assange, however, can still face extradition to the United States to answer to charges related to the operations of WikiLeaks, which published a large volume of classified military and diplomatic documents – one of the most extensive information leaks in U.S. history.
While the U.S. Justice Department, during former U.S. President Barack Obama, declared that WikiLeaks was similar to a media organization and its prosecution would be inappropriate, and current U.S. President Donald Trump said during a campaign rally, “I love WikiLeaks,” a Justice Department official confirmed to Reuters that an investigation into the organization was still open in the state of Virginia.
Statement on court: We are surprised. The judge went outside what the parties presented in court. This seems to have led to the significant factual errors in the judgment. US DoJ confirmed to Reuters again yesterday that its case is ongoing. There are 3 months to appeal UK ruling— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 13, 2018
In a tweet posted after the judgment was delivered, Assange said: "The judge went outside what the parties presented in court. This seems to have led to the significant factual errors in the judgment. U.S. DoJ confirmed to Reuters again yesterday that its case is ongoing."
The WikiLeaks founder has three months to appeal the judge's ruling.