'Threatening' package sent to embassy, Julian Assange claims

Julian Assange
Julian Assange
Author

07 February, 2018

A court in London on Tuesday rejected a legal bid by Julian Assange to have a British warrant for his arrest revoked.

Lawyers representing Assange argued the warrant should be scrapped because he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden.

Assange has spent the past five-and-a-half years holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London, as a result of the allegations.

A Swedish rape probe against him was dropped past year, but Assange fears arrest for jumping bail - and extradition to the U.S. - if he steps outside of the building.

Ahead of Tuesday's ruling, a small group of Assange supporters gathered outside the court in central London.

He said Assange had had "reasonable grounds" for fleeing to the embassy in 2012 because of his fear that he would be ultimately be extradited to the United States.

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If Assange leaves the embassy, he could be arrested, but what would happen after that is unclear.

He has long feared that if he leaves the embassy he could be sent to the United States to face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret United States military and diplomatic documents. A decision in Assange's favor would end Britain's case against him. While its justice system has an extremely long list of things it regards as constituting rape, it also has a very short attention span, so the Swedes have essentially given up trying to speak to Assange.

"The British authorities' failure to provide assurance against that risk is the reason he sought asylum in the embassy in the first place", she said.

USA officials haven't confirmed whether a request for Assange's extradition has been made.

She told the court that not surrendering to bail was a stand-alone offence under the Bail Act and Mr Assange must explain why he had failed to do so.

That apprehension related to "what might happen to him in America as a result of extant legal procedures" as well as "what has happened to others", Mr Summers said.


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