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Julian Assange Asks Swedish Supreme Court to Lift Arrest Warrant

Lawyers to argue that threat of extradition imposes 'severe limitations' on WikiLeaks founder

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has not left the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England since 2012, will ask the Swedish Supreme Court to lift the arrest warrant against him on Wednesday. (Photo: Xavier Granja Cedeño/Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores)

WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange on Wednesday asked the Swedish Supreme Court to lift the arrest warrant against him which has trapped him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly three years.

His lawyers will argue that the warrant has imposed "severe limitations" on Assange, who claimed asylum in 2012 to escape extradition to the U.S. for publishing a cache of classified military and State Department documents.

The warrant stems from allegations of sexual assault against Assange which came in 2010 in Sweden. He has not been charged with any crimes in that case and has denied the accusations. The prosecutor in the case, Marianne Ny, has said she cannot charge Assange until interviewing him, but has declined his offers to do so at the embassy in London.

Stockholm's appeal court rejected a similar request in November on the grounds that lifting the warrant would risk allowing Assange to flee legal proceedings, and that his confinement to the embassy was self-imposed. However, according to the Guardian, legal opinion in Sweden has since "swung against the prosecutor’s decision not to travel to London to interview Assange."

The Guardian reports:

If they lose the case in Sweden, Assange’s lawyers are looking to appeal to the European court, where they say legal thinking on detention “speaks strongly” in their favour. Sweden’s interpretation that Assange is not deprived of his liberty appears to be at odds with ECHR jurisprudence, said Jennifer Robinson, an Australian lawyer for Assange.

Assange has said that his confinement in the embassy, which has been imposed absent of any criminal charges, is a violation of Article 5 of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees fundamental liberty and security of person. In June of last year, 59 global human rights organizations condemned Sweden's "pre-charge detention" of Assange, which they called "a clear violation of his fundamental human rights, yet they remain beyond the reach of judicial review."

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