Julian Assange arrest warrant still valid, judge rules

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The Australian has taken refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than five years because he fears extradition to the US.

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

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot said in her ruling: "Having considered the arguments ..."

The British Foreign Office last month rejected Ecuador's request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, which would have given him immunity from arrest.

Julian Assange has claimed a package containing a "threat" and white substance was sent to him at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

The 46-year-old Australian, who gained prominence during the 2016 United States presidential election after Wikileaks published thousands of emails belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, faced sexual assault allegations from two women in Sweden, which he has denied.

Sweden dropped its investigation previous year, but British police are still seeking to arrest Assange for failing to surrender to a court after violating bail terms during his unsuccessful battle against extradition.

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The judge suggested that Assange could address the British warrant but that he had to first surrender and appear in court.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the case a year ago, saying all possible leads had been "exhausted".

A British judge will rule on February 13 whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can have his arrest warrant, for breaching bail conditions, lifted on "public interest grounds".

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

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

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

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

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