Ecuador cuts off Julian Assange’s internet access at …

Ecuador has cut Julian Assanges communications with the outside world from its London embassy, where the founder of the whistleblowing WikiLeaks website has been living for nearly six years.

The Ecuadorian government said in statement that it had acted because Assange had breached a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.

It said Assanges recent behaviour on social media put at risk the good relations [Ecuador] maintains with the United Kingdom, with the other states of the European Union, and with other nations.

The move came after Assange tweeted on Monday challenging Britains accusation that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month.

The WikiLeaks founder also questioned the decision by the UK and more than 20 other countries to retaliate against the poisoning by expelling Russian diplomats deemed spies.

Assange has lived in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sex crimes he denies. Sweden has dropped the case but Assange remains subject to arrest in the UK for jumping bail and fears he will be extradited to the US for questioning about WikiLeaks activities if he leaves the embassy building.

Ecuador previously cut Assanges internet access in the embassy in October 2016 over fears he was using it to interfere in the US presidential election following Wikileaks publication of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clintons campaign adviser, John Podesta.

In May 2017 the Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, again asked Assange to refrain from commenting on Spains dispute with the separatist region of Catalonia. Assange had tweeted that Madrid was guilty of repression.

As part of a subsequent agreement between Assange and the Ecuadorian government, he is not permitted to send any messages that could interfere with Ecuadors relations with other countries.

Assange sought asylum in the embassy in June 2012 following a series of legal challenges through British courts to a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden. He is technically free to leave but says he cannot because he is in breach of a warrant that was granted to extradite him to Sweden, and faces arrest. Assange has not at any point been charged with an offence under Swedish law but was sought for questioning over complaints of sexual assault by two women in 2010. Assange had raised concerns about Swedish demands that he be questioned in person,fearing extradition to the US.

Assanges comments on the nerve agent attack on double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia prompted the British foreign office minister Alan Duncan to call him a miserable little worm during a Commons debate on Tuesday. Duncan said he should leave the embassy and surrender to British justice.

Assange replied: Britain should come clean on whether it intends to extradite me to the United States for publishing the truth and cease its ongoing violation of the UN rulings in this matter.

If it does this disgraceful impasse can be resolved tomorrow. I have already fully served any theoretical (I havent been charged) bail violation whilst in prison and under house arrest. So why is there a warrant for my arrest?

The former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, and the music producer Brian Eno said in a statement they had heard with great concern about Assanges lost internet access.

Only extraordinary pressure from the US and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuadors authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian, they pair said, adding Assange had only recently been granted citizenship.

Clearly, Ecuadors government has been subjected to bullying over its decision to grant Julian asylum, support and ultimately, diplomatic status.

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Ecuador cuts off Julian Assange’s internet access at …

Julian Assange loses Internet access – The Washington Post

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lost his Internet access at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on March 27. Assange has been living in the embassy for nearly six years. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

LONDON Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, has been barred from using the Internet at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he has been holed up for nearly six years, the Ecuadoran government announced.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ecuador said it suspended Assanges ability to communicate with the outside world because he violated an agreement he signed with his hosts at the end of 2017 not to use his communiques to interfere in the affairs of other states. It was not immediately clear whether visitors would also be stopped.

The Ecuador government warns that the conduct of Assange via his messages on social media puts at risk the good relations that Ecuador maintains with the United Kingdom, the European Union and other nations, the statement said.

Ecuador did not cite any examples of this alleged breach.

Assange strongly supported separatist leaders inSpains Catalonia region whosought to secede last year. The head of that movement,Carles Puigdemont, the former regional president of Catalonia, was arrested over the weekend in Germany. Spanish authorities seek his extradition and return to Madrid, where he faces possible charges of treason and misuse of public funds.

Assange recently tweeted a stream of commentary about Facebooks data breach, President Trumps choice of John Bolton to serve as national security adviser, andallegations that Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi helped finance Frenchpolitician Nicolas Sarkozyssuccessful 2007 presidential election campaign.

[German hacker offers rare look inside Julian Assanges secretive world]

Sources close to Assange revealed that the document he signed does not specifically address his tweeting and advocacy. Instead, Assange agreed to comply withArticle 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, which states:

The premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatible with the functions of the mission as laid down in the present Convention or by other rules of general international law or by any special agreements in force between the sending and the receiving State.

A WikiLeaks source, who declined to be named because communications with Assange have been cut off, said Assange signed the document when Ecuador was considering making him a diplomat, with all the protections that would imply. Such a move was not taken.

Instead, Wikileaks supporters say Assange sought refuge as a free-speech advocate who now finds his speech muzzled.

Assange, however, specifically sought refuge at the EcuadoranEmbassy, located in one of Londons most exclusive neighborhoods, in 2012to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning about alleged sex crimes.Assange has denied the allegations.Swedish authorities have sinceshelved their investigation on grounds they could not get access to him.

Earlier this year, Assange lost two legal bids to quash a British arrest warrant issued after he skipped bail and fled to the embassy.

Assangehas expressed fears that if he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested and extradited to the United States for questioning over WikiLeakss role in publishing a trove of classified U.S.documents.

Assange was granted Ecuadoran citizenship late last year, and the government said it has protected him. In its communique Wednesday, the South American nation seemed to be saying enough was enough.

[Ecuador grants Assange citizenship in bid to end London embassy standoff]

Yanis Varoufakis, a former Greek minister, and Brian Eno, a British musician and record producer, saidthey had great concern when they heardAssange has lost access to the Internet and reportedly was no longer allowed to receive visitors.

Only extraordinary pressure from the U.S. and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuadors authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian, they wrote in astatement.

This is not the first time his hosts have cut off his access to the Internet. In October 2016, the embassy temporarily denied Assange Internet access out of concern WikiLeaks was interfering in the U.S. presidential election. In the summer of 2016, the anti-secrecy site published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.

[Assange: WikiLeaks has same the mission as The Post and Times]

The Ecuadoran government saidit cut off Assanges Internet on Tuesday.

In hislatest tweets, posted Tuesday, Assange responded toan insult by Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan.In a debate in Parliament, Duncan called Assange a miserable little worm who should hand himself over to British authorities to face justice.

Assange tweeted in response: As a political prisoner detained without charge for 8 years, in violation of 2 UN rulings, I suppose I must be miserable; yet nothing wrong with being a little person although I’m rather tall; and better a worm, a healthy creature that invigorates the soil, than a snake.

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Julian Assange loses Internet access – The Washington Post

Ecuador cutting off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s …

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QUITO, Ecuador Ecuador’s government is cutting off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s communications outside the nation’s London embassy.

Officials announced Wednesday they were taking the measure in response to Assange’s recent activity on social media.

As part of an agreement between Assange and the Ecuadorean government, he is not permitted to send any messages that could interfere with the South American nation’s relations with other countries.

Assange has been living in Ecuador’s embassy for more than five years.

Ecuador gave Assange asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims. Sweden dropped the case, but Assange remains subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail.

Though protected by Ecuador, the relationship between Assange and nation’s leaders has at times been strained. Ecuador has repeatedly urged Assange not to interfere in the affairs of other countries following his frequent online comments on international issues.

The biggest crisis came in October 2016, when the embassy cut his internet service after WikiLeaks published a trove of emails from then-U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

He was also a point of contention in Ecuador’s 2017 presidential election when Conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso pledged to evict the Australian within 30 days of taking office, while current President Lenin Moreno said he would allow him to stay. Assange later taunted after Lasso’s loss that he would “cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days.”

Moreno issued a warning reminding Assange not to meddle in politics he has also called Assange a hacker.

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Ecuador cutting off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s …

Ecuador cuts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet …

Julian Assange. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Ecuador has cut off Julian Assange’s internet connection in its London embassy and Wikileaks says it’s because of a tweet he sent.

The 46-year-old founder of the publishing platform and anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks has lived in the embassy in Knightsbridge, London since 2012, when he took refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over a rape allegation, which he denies.

Assange maintains that if he were to go to Sweden to answer questions about the allegations against him, he would then be extradited to the US because of his political activities with WikiLeaks.

Last year, Sweden dropped its investigation into the rape allegation but Assange could still be arrested and charged with breaching the terms of his UK bail if he were to set foot outside the embassy.

Assange’s active use of Twitter played a part in the Ecuadorian government’s decision to cut off his internet connection. In a statement, the government said it acted to remove Assange’s ability to communicate with the outside world because it was concerned that his posts risked damaging Ecuador’s relationship with the UK and the European Union.

Meanwhile, the official Wikileaks account said on Twitter that Assange was not able to make phone calls, receive visitors, speak to the press, or send tweets, and that Ecuador was demanding he delete a tweet about the arrest of Catalan politican Carles Puigdemont.

WikiLeaks is fiercely controversial and has repeatedly drawn the ire of the US government for its release of classified documents, including internal memos from US embassies and agencies and, in one case, a video known as “Collateral Murder” showing a US helicopter firing on journalists in Iraq.

In the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election, WikiLeaks released emails and documents taken from the Democratic Party, dominating the news cycle with headlines unfavorable to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. The US government has said the documents were stolen by Russian hackers and released to undermine faith in the election and destabilize Clinton’s candidacy.

Assange’s five years of self-imposed captivity have not been easy. WikiLeaks says he has had health problems but has not left to seek treatment for fear of being arrested. His relationship with his Ecuadorian hosts has also been at times strained. Leaked documents obtained by BuzzFeed in 2015 detailed apparent concerns about his psychological health and included photos of a bookcase strewn across his room in 2013.

Ecuador has cut off Assange’s internet before. In 2016, it temporarily deactivated his access over concerns that WikiLeaks’ releases were interfering in the US presidential election.

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Ecuador cuts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet …

Ecuador Disconnects Julian Assange From The Internet : The …

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to supporters outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been in self-imposed exile since 2012. Frank Augstein/AP hide caption

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to supporters outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been in self-imposed exile since 2012.

The government of Ecuador has cut off the Internet connection for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside its London embassy, saying that he was jeopardizing its relationships with other countries through his posts on social media.

Assange has been living in the embassy there since 2012, when he took refuge because of allegations from Sweden of sex crimes, including rape. He has feared that if he appeared in Sweden he would face extradition to the U.S., where he could be put on trial for the WikiLeaks leak of a massive trove of documents.

Last year, Sweden announced that it was dropping the rape investigation. But Assange is not in the clear, as NPR’s Colin Dwyer reported, because there is still an outstanding arrest warrant for him in the U.K. for “failing to surrender in court.” A judge upheld that warrant last month.

The source of Ecuador’s recent concern appears to be a series of tweets in which Assange suggested that only “circumstantial” evidence suggests Russia is behind the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. earlier this month. That attack prompted the U.K., the U.S. and more than a dozen European nations to expel Russian officials from their countries.

In a statement, Ecuador said that Assange violated a written contract with its government in late 2017, “for which he’s obligated not to issue messages that would interfere with relationships with other nations.”

It added that through his social media posts, Assange was putting in danger the “good relations that the country maintains with the United Kingdom, with the rest of the European Union and with other nations.”

That prompted Ecuador on Tuesday to interrupt Assange’s “external connections,” adding that there are other potential measures it could take.

It was clear that Assange’s comments angered British Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan, who described him as a “miserable little worm” during a debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

This is not the first time Ecuador has taken steps to limit Assange’s Internet. In October 2016, Ecuador said it was temporarily restricting Assange’s access in response to leaks of documents that it says impacted the vote. It added that the change “does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities.”

At the time, WikiLeaks accused Ecuador of acting under pressure from the U.S. State Department, as NPR’s Barbara Campbell reported. State Department spokesman John Kirby denied that claim.

In May 2017, as the BBC reported, “Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno asked Mr Assange to refrain from expressing his public support for the independence campaign in Spain’s Catalonia region after he tweeted that Madrid was guilty of ‘repression’.”

Moreno appears less keen on Assange than does former President Rafael Correa, the leader who initially granted him asylum. According to the AP, Correa “hailed Assange’s work, but the nation’s current head of state has called him a hacker and warned him not to meddle in politics.”

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Ecuador Disconnects Julian Assange From The Internet : The …

The Scourging of Julian Assange – counterpunch.org

Julian Assanges latest attempt to have his outstanding UK arrest warrant dropped hasfailedin what stands as one of the most blatant and cruel examples of the British legal system being wielded as an instrument of persecution against a man whose only crime is speaking truth to power.

The judge presiding over his case, and who summarily dismissed it, was Lady Arbuthnot of Edrom. Yes, you read that right. In the second decade of the 21stcentury the UK legal system is still dominated by the kind of people whose morning workout consists of flogging the butler. Lady Arbuthnot also happens to be the wife of Tory peer and former junior Defence Minister Lord James Arbuthnot, whose father wasMajor Sir John Sinclair Wemyss Arbuthnot.

By now you should be getting the idea. These ridiculous products of privilege and the British public school system (private education for those unfamiliar with the quixotic and arcane code of the British ruling elite) are the guardians of a status quo of class oppression at home and imperialism abroad. In daring to rip off the mask of civility and moral rectitude behind which they and their masters in the US have long carried out their acts of brutality and barbarity at home and around the world, Assange is on the receiving end of their considerable wrath.

If Julian Assange had been confined to a foreign embassy in Moscow or Beijing for five years, on the same grounds on which he has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, his plight would have been a cause celebre, sparking calls for boycotts, sanctions, and action at the UN on the part of free speech and prisoner of conscience liberals in the West who are never done excoriating Russia and China.

As it is the UN has already intervened in the matter of the plight of the Wikileaks founder. In February 2016 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentiondeterminedthat thearbitrarydetention of Julian Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation.

Given that the Swedish authorities dropped their investigation into the original charges of rape and sexual molestation made against Assange in 2010 and which he has always denied and claims were politically motivated the outstanding UK arrest warrant for breaching bail conditions in 2012 which relates to those charges is surely now moot. Julian Assange, you may recall, sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London fearing not extradition to Sweden but to the US over his role as founder and public face of Wikileaks.

In 2018 not only does the threat of extradition to the US continue to hang over him with this outstanding UK arrest warrant, if anything the threat is even greater, what with the part Wikileaks played in disseminating damning facts about Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the leadership of the DNC in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election. The ensuing Washington liberal establishment rage that has ensued as a result of Clinton losing the election to Donald Trump has been positively volcanic.

Clinton, her supporters, and elements of the Washington establishment claim that the information Wikileaks published came by way of Russian hacking, while Assange and groups such asVeterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity(VIPS), made up of former US intelligence operatives and officials, maintain that the information came by way of a leak within Washington itself. Meanwhile, up to this point, the investigation into alleged Russian hacking, Russiagate, is yet to produce one scintilla of concrete evidence that any such hacking on the part of Moscow took place.

Again, the real crime Julian Assange committed was not breaching his bail conditions but daring to speak truth to power. Wikileaks under his stewardship has become the bte noire of governments, particularly Western governments, revealing the ugly truth of crimes committed by US forces in Iraq, the Wests role in the destabilization of Ukraine in 2014, the destruction of Libya and this is without the part the whistleblowing outfit played in exposing Hillary Clinton as a politician whose record is amonument to mendacity.

Wikileaks is and continues to be a thorn in their side and must be destroyed. Which means that Julian Assange must be destroyed, a man who teaches us that believing you live in a free society and actually behaving as if you do is not the same thing. The former allows you to exist in a bubble of soporific comfort, while the latter is liable to get you confined to a foreign embassy for five years and counting.

The personal toll on Assanges physical and psychological well being as a result of his confinement should not be overlooked. Indeed the toll it is having was recently confirmed by the medical opinion of two clinicians, who upon examining Assange at the embassy in October 2017 renewed calls for him to be granted safe passage to a London hospital for treatment. In anarticlefor the Guardian, the clinicians write: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.

It bears repeating: Julian Assange, as was Chelsea Manning, as will be Edward Snowden if he dares set foot outside Russia, is being punished for removing the veil of freedom, human rights, and civil liberties from the face of an empire of hypocrisy and lies. They lied about Iraq, they lied about Libya, they lied about Syria, and they lie every day about the murky relationships between governments, corporations, and the rich that negates their oft made claims to be governing in the interests of the people.

Until Julian Assange is free none of us are.

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The Scourging of Julian Assange – counterpunch.org

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, loses court appeal to …

LONDON — A British judge has decide to quash uphold an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years evading the law inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Assange’s lawyers had argued that it’s no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012 and seeking shelter in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women. He denied the allegations.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rule against all five of the challenges to the warrant brought by Assange’s lawyers on Tuesday afternoon at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future. But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

Assange’s lawyers asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the same judge rejected their request last week.

Assange’s attorney went on to argue that arresting him is no longer proportionate or in the public interest. Lawyer Mark Summers said that the 5 years Assange has spent inside the embassy were “adequate, if not severe” punishment for his actions, and cited a report by a U.N. committee which said the 46-year-old was being arbitrarily detained.

He also claimed the Australian was justified in seeking refuge in the embassy because he has a legitimate fear that U.S. authorities are seeking to arrest him for WikiLeaks’ publication of secret documents.

Summers also argued that Assange’s actions had not stalled Sweden’s legal case, because Assange had offered to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors at the embassy. He said emails recently released after a freedom of information request showed that a British state prosecutor had advised Sweden “that it would not be prudent for Sweden to try to interview Mr. Assange in the U.K.”

Some lawyers who have followed the case said the arguments were unlikely to sway the judge.

“The impasse is just going to continue in this case,” said Edward Grange, a partner at law firm Corker Binning.

He said the fact remained that Assange had chosen to enter the embassy to avoid arrest,

“It would be a dangerous precedent to set if the warrant could just be withdrawn on public interest grounds, because that would be seen as a reward for individuals who decide to avoid administrative justice,” he said.

Even if the judge had lifted the British arrest warrant, Assange’s legal problems may not have been over. He suspects there is a secret U.S. grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition

Another Assange lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said the WikiLeaks chief was willing to face legal proceedings in Britain — if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the U.S. to face prosecution.

“Mr. Assange remains ready to face British justice and to resolve any outstanding matters related to his seeking protection in the Ecuadorean embassy – but not at the risk of being forced to face American injustice for exercising the freedom to publish,” she said.

2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, loses court appeal to …

Fugitive Julian Assange ‘considers himself above the law’: judge

A UK judge has dashed Julian Assange’s hopes of throwing out an arrest warrant against him, scolding the Wikileaks editor for considering himself “above the law” and “wanting justice only if it goes in his favour”.

In the Westminster Magistrates Court, Judge Emma Arbuthnot also heavily criticised a 2015 ruling by a United Nations panel that said Assange was under arbitrary detention in Ecuador’s London embassy where he sought asylum in 2012 and has stayed ever since.

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The founder of Wikileaks lost one legal bid to have a UK arrest warrant against him quashed but launched another, to have the British authorities halt any action against him on public interest grounds.

She said Assange had been treated according to the law but has failed to attend court and has thwarted the course of justice by refusing to fully cooperate with a Swedish investigation into rape allegations.

Arbuthnot added Assange was in relatively good health despite a tooth infection, a frozen shoulder and depression.

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 so too, she said.

Arbuthnot was weighing the public interest in pursuing Assange for refusing to surrender to police while on bail.

It is a criminal offence for someone on bail to refuse to surrender to police without reasonable cause – and Assange refused to leave the embassy despite a court order for his arrest after an extradition order to Sweden was upheld on appeal in 2012.

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But Assanges lawyer Mark Summers QC had argued that the arrest warrant should be dropped because it was not in the interests of justice and proportionality to bring an action against Assange.

He said Assange had already undergone enough punishment as a result of staying in the small embassy for more than five years.

Arbuthnot accepted that Assange has a serious tooth problem and is in need of dental treatment and needs an MRI scan on a shoulder which has been described as frozen, and that he has depression and suffers respiratory infections.

However Mr Assanges health problems could be much worse, she said.

In December 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) ruled that Assange was subject to arbitrary detention, in breach of his human rights.

They held that he had been denied due process and a fair trial while he was in Wandsworth Prison, then during 550 days under house arrest, while he was appealing against his extradition to Sweden. They said the deprivation of his liberty continued while he was in the embassy.

However Arbuthnot said the WGAD had based its conclusions on some misunderstandings and the restrictions on Assanges freedom had been according to law and proportionate.

She said there was a distinction between Wandsworth prison and living in the embassy – he could leave whenever he wishes, he is free to receive it would seem an unlimited number of unsupervised visits, he can choose the food he eatsand the time he sleeps and exercises, he can sit on the balcony to take the air, and he is free to use a computer and mobile phone.

I suspect if one were to ask one of the men incarcerated in Wandsworth Prison whether conditions in the Ecuadorian Embassy were akin to a remand in custody, the prisoner would dispute the Working Groups assertion, Arbuthnot said.

His house arrest had been proposed by his own legal team, including leading human rights specialist Geoffrey Robertson QC.

The court – rightly as it turned out – had a fear Mr Assange would not surrender himself to the court and to ensure his attendance the conditions suggested by his lawyers were put in place.

Assanges lawyers had argued he had good reason to fear rendition – rather than extradition – to the US where some officials were calling for the death penalty.

I do not find that Mr Assanges fears were reasonable, Arbuthnot said. I do not accept that Sweden would have rendered Mr Assange to the United States. If that had happened there would have been a diplomatic crisis.

If, instead, the US had requested Assanges extradition, he could challenge it by arguing that he would not receive a fair trial or proper conditions of detention.

Assanges team also relied on an exchange of emails uncovered by an investigative journalist, in which a lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK argued that Sweden should keep trying to arrest Assange.

Arbuthnot said she could not determine whether the lawyer had acted inappropriately, and it was too speculative to argue it had made a difference to the case.

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Fugitive Julian Assange ‘considers himself above the law’: judge

Julian Assange’s arrest warrant stilll stands, says UK judge …

The arrest warrant for Assange still stands.

Julian Assange lost his bid to halt legal action against him in the UK on Tuesday, after a British high court judge knocked down almost every argument put forward by his defense team.

A warrant for the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder still stands, said Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, meaning Assange is unlikely to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has lived for the past six years, anytime soon.

The UK arrest warrant is based on Assange skipping bail in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault. To dodge extradition, Assange entered the embassy disguised as a motorcycle courier after Ecuador offered him immunity. Swedish prosecutors have since dropped charges against him, but he could still be arrested if he leaved the embassy for breaching the conditions of his bail in the UK.

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Assange’s lawyers argued that it’s no longer in the the public interest for police to arrest him. He is suffering from ill health and depression and the time he’s spent locked inside the Ecuadorian Embassy is punishment enough for his crimes, they said.

Arbuthnot wasn’t convinced by the arguments, saying the circumstances of his self-imposed stay at the embassy were not comparable to imprisonment. Arrest was a “proportionate response,” said Arbuthnot, according to The Guardian. She added that Assange should have the courage to come to court to face the consequences of his choices.

Assange has not yet commented on the ruling and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Even if the judge had ruled in his favor on Tuesday, Assange may have decided to remain inside the embassy as he fears the US may seek to have him extradited for activity related to WikiLeaks. The US government has repeatedly neither confirmed not denied the existence of an extradition warrant.

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Julian Assange’s arrest warrant stilll stands, says UK judge …

Julian Assange accused of cowardice by British judge – BI

Julian Assange addressing supporters outside Ecuador’s London embassy in May 2017. AP

A British judge has called out Julian Assange for cowardice after he decided not to come to a court hearing in which he asked police to give up trying to arrest him.

Emma Arbuthnot, who heard Assange’s case at Westminster Magistrates Court in central London, said in a ruling that he “should have the courage” to appear in court like anybody else accused of wrongdoing.

Assange has been hiding out in Ecuador’s London embassy for the past five and a half years in an effort to avoid an arrest linked to claims of sexual misconduct in Sweden.

He would likely be arrested if he were to leave and try to go to court, which is the course of action Arbuthnot appears to be recommending.

His lawyers were in court to ask Arbuthnot to cancel the arrest warrant against Assange, on the grounds that it was no longer in the public interest to uphold it. The application was declined.

In a document explaining her decision, Arbuthnot attacked Assange’s character. She accused him of considering himself “above the normal rules of law” and challenged him to personally appear in court.

Here’s the relevant passage:

“The impression I have, and this may well be dispelled if and when Mr Assange finally appears in court, is that he is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice, whether the course of justice is in this jurisdiction or in Sweden.

“He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favour. As long as the court process is going his way, he is willing to be bailed conditionally but as soon as the Supreme Court rules against him, he no longer wants to participate on the court’s terms but on his terms.

“I have had to consider whether it is proportionate not to withdraw the warrant for his arrest. On the one hand he is a man who has failed to attend court and has thwarted the course of justice but on the other he has been unable to leave a small flat for a number of years and is suffering physically and mentally as a result.

“Having weighed up the factors for and against and considered [Assange lawyer] Mr Summers’ arguments 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 so too.”

Assange argues that he is being wrongly detained, and fears that handing himself over to British police would ultimately end in his extradition to the United States, where he could face harsh punishment for publishing state secrets.

Arbuthnot’s ruling considered whether that was a credible fear, and concluded that “no evidence” that he would have been extradited without numerous other chances to defend himself.

Assange tweeted a number of times during the hearing. He can choose to appeal Tuesday’s ruling, according to Sky News.

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Julian Assange accused of cowardice by British judge – BI