Swedish appeals court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange
The saga continues
A Swedish appeals court has upheld the European Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, who is sought in the country on allegations of rape, which he denies.
Assange had sought to appeal the warrant for his arrest, though not the charges, as a means of achieving escape from the Ecuadorian embassy where he has been holed up now for over four years.
Removing the warrant would be only the first step towards his achieving the political asylum which was offered to him by Ecuador as he is now also wanted in the UK for breaching bail conditions.
A prosecution of the rape allegations against Assange will become statute-barred in 2020. There is no expiry on Assange's breach of bail conditions however.
The WikiLeaks founder and chief, who is now 45, had attempted to tackle the Swedish warrant on seven previous occasions. Today's ruling marks the eighth time he has failed to have it withdrawn.
Assange's lawyers have argued that his stay in the embassy amounts to arbitrary detention. They are matched in this claim by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which found earlier this year that Assange was being detained arbitrarily.
A district court in Sweden disputed this, however, and said that the arrest warrant was necessary because of Assange's likeliness to abscond or evade justice. WikiLeaks tweeted yesterday:
If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange -- despite its clear unlawfulness https://t.co/MZU30S3Eia— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 15, 2016