UK Court to Announce Their Verdict on Dismissing Arrest Warrant Against Julian Assange

On Tuesday afternoon, the London Westminster’s Magistrates court will announce their verdict in the case brought on by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeking to dismiss the UK arrest warrant against him.

Efforts by the US to arrest Assange have expanded under the Trump administration as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declared the publishers arrest a “priority.”

Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador, but has been unable to leave their London embassy over concerns that the nation will arrest him to extradite him to the United States. The UK arrest warrant is based upon a Swedish investigation that was closed a year ago without charges. Sweden has since withdrawn their warrant and therefore, logically, the UK should as well.

Emails obtained through the UK’s Freedom of Information Act revealed that the UK had pressured Sweden not to drop their extradition request. The two nations then colluded to cover up their misconduct by deleting emails related to the case.

After 16 months of investigation, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) determined in February of last year that Assange is being arbitrarily and unlawfully detained by Sweden and the UK and must be immediately released and compensated. The UK appealed this determination, but the UN stood by their original conclusion.

While a favorite line of those who oppose the publisher is that he is “free to leave at any time,” in 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the only reason he has not been apprehended is because he is in the embassy.

Additionally, an intelligence leak from Stratfor in 2012 revealed that the US has a sealed indictment against Assange, and could mean life in prison. The UK has been very secretive about their discussions with the US, reportedly to avoid “tipping off” Assange about their arrangements.

“The five charge types on the warrants used against WikiLeaks are espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy, theft, and electronic espionage–a terrorism offence,” Assange tweeted on Monday.

The WikiLeaks founder entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19, 2012, and applied for political asylum, which was granted. Since that time the building has been encircled by police waiting on standby to arrest him. UK efforts to detain Assange is said to have cost the government well over $10 million.

Without sunlight, fresh air or proper access to adequate dental and medical care, Assange’s health has been deteriorating. Two clinicians who examined him have called on the UK government to allow him safe passage to a hospital for care.

“While the results of the evaluation are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare,” the doctors wrote in the Guardian.

Trump’s own attorney has argued in a legal filing that WikiLeaks publications are protected under the Bartnicki First Amendment Test — which protects the publication of stolen or illegally obtained material as long as it is newsworthy and the publisher is not the person who originally obtained it.

However, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has claimed that Assange has “no First Amendment rights” and that his agency is “working to take down WikiLeaks.”

As Assange noted in a piece for the Washington Post, President Donald Trump “mentioned WikiLeaks 164 times during the last month of the election and gushed: ‘I love WikiLeaks.’”

The entire media is based on obtaining leaks, scoops and secrets — which Trump knows better than anyone. If other journalists were held to the same standard as Assange, editors of the New York Times, Buzzfeed, the Washington Post and nearly every other publication would be serving time in prison.

More information on the case can be found at: WikiLeaks and Justice4Assange.

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