LONDON: A British court on Tuesday ruled to keep in place an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, thwarting a bid that could have paved the way for him to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has spent the last five and a half years.
"I’m not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn," judge Emma Arbuthnot said in criminal court in London, reading out her decision. But Arbuthnot was still considering a further application from Assange’s lawyers that the arrest warrant be scrapped on public interest grounds.
Assange entered the embassy in June 2012 to dodge a European arrest warrant and extradition to Sweden over a 2010 probe in the Scandinavian country into rape and sexual assault allegations.
Sweden dropped its investigation last year, but British police are still seeking to arrest Assange for failing to surrender to a court after violating his bail terms during his unsuccessful battle against extradition.