Julian Assange will continue to face detention if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been held up for the last five years after a judge ruled against canceling a United Kingdom warrant for his arrest.
The lawyers representing the Wikileaks founder’s argued that continuing to pursue him for violating bail conditions was not proportionate or in the public interest. However, Emma Arbuthnot, a senior district judge, dismissed their claim at Westminster Magistrates’ Court early on Tuesday.
UK Court Delays Verdict on Assange Arrest Warrant, Ecuador to Continue Protection
Last week, Assange’s legal representative failed to have the warrant revoked, but successfully registered an argument that it would not be in the interest of justice for British authorities to continue to pursue a judgment against him.
The warrant, which is centered on the WikiLeaks chief absconding bail, remains active in Britain. The court is tasked to rule on a legal bid to dismiss any further action against him on the charge.
Assange, however, could still face extradition to the United States to answer to charges related to the operations of WikiLeaks.
The United States could seek Assange’s extradition to face charges regarding WikiLeaks’ publication of a large volume of classified military and diplomatic documents – one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
During former U.S. President Barack Obama tenure, the U.S. Justice Department declared that WikiLeaks was similar to a media organization and its prosecution would be inappropriate.
Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke glowingly of the organization's release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, saying at a campaign rally “I love WikiLeaks.”
There is no information pointing to the existence of a warrant or whether one will be sought.
But, a Justice Department official confirmed, to Reuters, that an investigation into WikiLeaks was still open in Virginia.
Assange believes that U.S. prosecutors have a sealed indictment against him and an extradition warrant was sent to British authorities.
The Australian has been confined to the location for almost six years. Assange was granted asylum at the London embassy after rape charges – which have since been dismissed – were brought against him in Sweden.
The case was dropped in May last year.
He has been residing in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since June 2012.