A U.K. judge has refused to withdraw Julian Assange's arrest warrant.
From The Guardian:
Julian Assange will continue to face detention if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a British judge upheld a warrant for his arrest.
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Handing down her judgment before a packed courtroom at Westminster magistrates court, senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail.
She said: “I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years.
“Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition, come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed.”
Assange, 46, skipped bail to enter the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he denies.
Though Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation against him, he faces arrest if he leaves the building in Knightsbridge, London, for breaching his former bail conditions in the UK.
Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder had asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week. Representing Assange, Mark Summers QC went on to argue that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest.
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In the same week, both Julian Assange and Donald Trump Jr.'s family was sent a mysterious white powder. Vanessa Trump reportedly felt nauseated and was coughing after opening an envelope with a white powder this morning. According to Assange, the white powder was sent from a U.S. address.
The British Crown prosecution service is reportedly facing embarrassment after admitting they destroyed key emails relating to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Theguardian.com reported: The Crown Prosecution Service is facing embarrassment after admitting it destroyed key emails relating to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy fighting extradition.
Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014.
The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week.
Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.
The CPS, responding to questions from the Guardian, denied there were any legal implications of the data loss for an Assange case if it were to come to court in the future. Asked if the CPS had any idea what was destroyed, a spokesperson said: “We have no way of knowing the content of email accounts once they have been deleted.”
Assange, whose WikiLeaks has been involved in a series of controversial leaks that include the Iraq war logs, US state department cables and Democratic party emails, was wanted by Sweden as part of a preliminary investigation into rape allegations. Sweden dropped the investigation in May.
Detractors of Assange, who sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012, accuse him of collaborating with Russian propagandists in undermining Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency and helping Donald Trump secure it.
Supporters of Assange fear he could have been extradited to the US from Sweden and might yet from the UK. The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said this year Assange was a priority for the justice department and US federal prosecutors are believed to be considering charges against him over the leaks.
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Julian Assange called out Newsweek journalist Michael Hayden and mocked him for falling for a fake Assange Twitter account supporting President Trump.
In response, Assange replied:
I am sure that I could have predicted that a Newsweek "journalist" such as @MichaelEHayden would be unprofessional, not fact check and amplify a black PR operation against a political refugee the CIA has vowed to "take down".