Last week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange labeled reports that the British authorities had struck down his latest attempt to get an arrest warrant against him dropped “fake news.” “Nothing of the sort has happened,” he explained on Twitter. “The hearing is still happening.” Well, the hearing in question has occurred, and the British judge overseeing it has ruled against Assange’s request to drop the warrant now that Swedish authorities are no longer pursuing extradition against him.
According to The Guardian, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot of the Westminster Magistrates Court said she “[found] 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 the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed.”
Arbuthnot also described Assange’s time in the Ecuadorian embassy as “adequate, if not severe” enough punishment considering the charge of skipping bail. Even so, she concluded, his legal team’s argument that Sweden’s having decided not to extradite him for since-dropped sexual assault and rape charges was not grounds enough to drop the British arrest warrant. Considering girlfriend Pamela Anderson’s reported plans to free Assange from his self-captivity, however, the WikiLeaks founder may not have to suffer that much longer. (Just kidding.)
(Via The Guardian)