Julian Assange arrest warrant still valid, judge rules

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Julian Assange's attempt to have an arrest warrant against him in the United Kingdom has failed, meaning he'll remain in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London that has been his refuge since 2012.

Assange's lawyer Mark Summers had previously told the court the bail arrest warrant had "lost its goal and its function" when Sweden withdrew the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

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

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, the judge who is now also presiding over the extradition trial of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya - the next hearing date for which is expected in mid-March, had reserved her judgement in the Assange case last month. (AAP) Julian Assange has sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012.

However, Assange suspects there is a secret US grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

After she read out her decision, Assange's lawyer Mark Summers asked her to consider the public interest argument, and the court hearing continued. British police have insisted if Assange left the embassy they would still arrest him for breaching bail conditions. 6, 2018, a British judge denied Assange's bid to force Britain to drop a warrant for his arrest.

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There are no formal charges in against Assange in the USA, though news reports a year ago suggested the Justice Department was looking into it.

If the court rules in Assange's favour, 46-year-old will be able to walk out of the Knightsbridge embassy - with up to £18million stashed in bitcoin accounts after investing in 2010.

If the British case against Assange is dropped, it might make it easier for Assange to obtain diplomatic status, which could ease his way for possible travel to Ecuador without risking arrest and extradition proceedings.

This meant bail warrant was the only thing keeping Assange in the embassy. The warrant was issued when the Wikileaks founder breached bail conditions by seeking asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London.

Extradition lawyer Rebecca Niblock, of the law firm Kingsley Napley, said before the ruling that Assange's legal argument was a longshot.

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