UK judge rejects Assange plea to drop legal action against him

UK judge rejects Assange plea to drop legal action against him
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A British judge on Tuesday rejected WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's plea for British authorities to drop legal action against him for jumping his bail in 2012.

Reuters reported that Judge Emma Arbuthnot refused to drop a years-old arrest warrant on Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for 5 1/2 years. 

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was facing rape and sexual assault allegations.

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Swedish authorities closed that investigation last year, but there remains an arrest warrant on Assange in the United Kingdom for violating the terms of his bail.

Arbuthnot's ruling rejected an argument by Assange's lawyers that his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy has all but amounted to imprisonment. She said that regardless of Swedish authorities' decision to close their investigation, Assange still breached his bail and has refused to face the consequences of his actions.

"Having weighed up the factors for and against ... I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr. Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years," the judge said in her ruling, according to Reuters.

"Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition, come to court to face the consequences of their own choices," Arbuthnot added. "He should have the courage to do so too."

The ruling was the latest hit to Assange's effort to leave the embassy he has inhabited for years. The Ecuadorian government granted the WikiLeaks founder citizenship last month and requested that British authorities grant him diplomatic status to allow him to leave the country. That request was rejected. 

Assange has also said that he suspects that there is a secret indictment against him in the U.S. for his role in disclosing highly classified information.