Assange asks court to drop arrest warrant

Assange asks court to drop arrest warrant

WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul Assange3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Mueller on Trump's WikiLeaks embrace: 'Problematic is an understatement' The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE has asked a United Kingdom (U.K.) court to drop an arrest warrant that has for years kept him holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London.

The Guardian reported Friday that Assange's lawyer, Mark Summers, asked a judge to drop the warrant, arguing that because it stemmed from a since-closed investigation in Sweden it was no longer relevant or necessary. 

Documents for the defense likened Assange's confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy to imprisonment. 

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"He [Assange] has spent five-and-a-half years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril," the documents read, according to the Guardian. 

Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was being investigated for sexual assault and rape allegations.

That investigation has since ended, but British authorities say that a warrant for Assange's arrest for violating the terms of his bail is still valid in the U.K.

Aaron Watkins of the Crown Prosecution Service argued Friday that dropping the warrant for Assange's arrest would mean that the WikiLeaks founder would essentially be "rewarded with effective immunity" for evading the law.

“The proper approach is that when a discrete, standalone offence of failing to surrender occurs, it always remains open to this court to secure the arrest,” Watkins said, according to the Guardian.