Lawyers Say Assange Warrant is Worthless, Court to Decide

Bulgaria Court to Make Decision on Validity of UK Arrest Warrant Against Julian Assange

His lawyers have now made an application at Westminster Magistrates' Court last for the United Kingdom warrant to be withdrawn, saying it had "lost its goal and its function".

Assange has been staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last five years to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape.

"I am not persuaded the warrant should be withdrawn", Arbuthnot told lawyers, journalists and Assange supporters gathered at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The warrant was issued for the WikiLeaks founder in 2012 after sexual abuse allegations from the Swedish government were leveled against him.

The investigation and charges in Sweden were dropped a year ago, but Assange's British arrest warrant remains outstanding.

In April 2017, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said arresting Julian Assange over Wikileak's publishing activities was a "priority".

It was issued in 2012 after he allegedly breached bail conditions by seeking asylum in Ecuador's London embassy, where he has remained.

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Assange sought asylum in the embassy because he feared Swedish police would eventually extradite him to the USA, where he could face decades in jail over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of secret military documents in 2010.

Watkins said the case against Assange was "extremely simple" in that he had failed to surrender to custody in answer to bail, therefore the warrant still stood. "And that is when Mr. Assange will be able to place that before the court", the judge said.

If he were to leave Ecuador's embassy, Assange would face arrest by British police.

The judge said that if Assange wanted the warrant lifted he should surrender to authorities and come to court.

In May previous 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".

But prosecutor Aaron Watkins earlier called Assange's court bid "absurd".

Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder asked the court to withdraw the warrant, saying it had "lost its purpose".

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