United Kingdom court rejects bid by Julian Assange to have arrest warrant lifted

Slim chance UK will let Assange off the hook as judge to rule on arrest warrant appeal

However, a judge at Westminster Magistrates Court said it remained valid because he had committed an offence by skipping bail in June 2012 - when he first took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London.

Assange has been staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last five years to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape.

A Swedish rape probe against him was dropped previous year, but Assange fears arrest for jumping bail - and extradition to the United States - if he steps outside of the building.

Arbuthnot said that on February 13 she will rule on a request to have the entire United Kingdom case against Assange dropped.

Tuesday's ruling prolongs a stalemate that has kept Assange as Ecuador's houseguest for 5? years.

More news: Mourinho slams Manchester United players after Spurs defeat

Despite arguments from Assange's lawyers that the dropped charges in Sweden make the British arrest warrant unnecessary, senior district judge Arbuthnot stated, "Having considered the arguments ..."

Supporters of Assange said they planned to hold a protest outside the embassy on Tuesday evening.

His clients has repeatedly pointed out that if he leaves the Embassy where he has been holed up for half a decade he fears being extradited to the U.S. where he could face a severe sentence for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

That is because he fears that with the Swedish issue out of the way, the United States will unseal charges against him and that the British authorities would arrest him under a USA extradition warrant.

Assange's defenders call him a freedom fighter who's being persecuted for telling the truth. Last year, WikiLeaks released documents detailing USA government hacking tools. Britain rejected the appeal, saying that "the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice".

USA officials haven't confirmed whether a request for Assange's extradition has been made.

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