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United Kingdom court rejects bid by Julian Assange to have arrest warrant lifted

United Kingdom court rejects bid by Julian Assange to have arrest warrant lifted

Rejecting arguments from his attorneys, a local court ruled on February 6 that a United Kingdom arrest warrant for WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange remains in effect.

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).

Despite the fact that the Swedish case has been dropped, the British authorities consider that he breached his bail conditions.

"[Assange] has spent five-and-a-half years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril", attorney Mark Summers wrote in court papers cited by the Guardian.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador's foreign minister, said Assange would not leave the embassy without security guarantees because he has received threats on his life.

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.

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It is not publicly known whether there is a sealed USA indictment against Assange. "This is and has always been our overriding concern".

On Tuesday, the court ruled the warrant is still valid.

Earlier this month, Ecuador granted citizenship to Assange after officials decided his living situation was unsustainable. A separate evening demonstration outside the Ecuadoran Embassy was planned for Tuesday evening.

Wikileaks, which was founded by Mr Assange in 2006, has been involved in several high-profile releases of classified U.S. information.

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

But Arbuthnot said such issues could be considered only if Assange were to be brought to court to explain his failure to surrender to bail.