The story of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken yet another turn in a case that has been filled with legal moves, twists, and turns. The latest is that a U.K. arrest warrant for Assange is being upheld.
This morning, a court in London upheld the U.K. arrest warrant that has been keeping WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stranded within the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The warrant for Assange’s arrest stems from Assange skipping out on his bail terms.
Assange and his council had asked for the warrant to be thrown out, but the London court decided to uphold the warrant. The move by the London courts is regarded by many as an act of principle and by others as an act of bureaucratic madness.
In 2010, Swedish authorities began looking into Assange after allegations of rape were made after he visited the country. In November of 2010, Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange.
It was and still is a very strong possibility that Sweden would extradite Assange to the United States if they were to move forward with their own possible criminal charges against him related to the Wikileaks publication of classified documents.
It’s at this point that the story gets very technical.
The short version of the story is this. England upheld an extradition warrant for Assange to be sent to Sweden due to a detention order being issued for Assange on suspicion of rape, three cases of sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion. He appealed the extradition warrant and was let out on bail.
When it looked like the U.K. courts would uphold the extradition warrant, Assange ran to the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking asylum. The embassy granted Assange that asylum. He has been essentially trapped in the embassy ever since for fear of being arrested should he leave, as he violated his bail with his actions.
Meanwhile, Sweden eventually dropped all warrants against Assange in 2015. The statute of limitations on the lesser charges had run out, but Sweden can still go after him on the bigger charge of rape until 2020.
With the Swedish charges and warrants dropped, Assange should be free to go, right? Unfortunately, when he broke his bail conditions, Assange committed a crime and the warrant for that crime is still executable. Assange’s lawyers had been arguing the warrant is now without merit, as the bail is now meaningless in light of Sweden dropping its warrants.
The U.K. courts, however, still see the crime as a crime and, because Assange was fully aware of what he was doing, he must pay the price for that crime. And thus, with the upheld warrant, the stalemate between Julian Assange and the U.K. justice system continues.