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UK judge upholds arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder

Jamaica Gleaner / LONDON (AP):

A judge upheld a British arrest warrant for Julian Assange yesterday, saying the WikiLeaks founder should have the courage to come to court and face justice after more than five years inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected arguments by Assange’s lawyers that it is 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. Prosecutors there were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women, which Assange has denied.

Arbuthnot did not mince words in her ruling at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, saying that by jumping bail Assange had made “a determined attempt to avoid the order of the court.”

She said Assange appeared to be “a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice”.

“He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favour,” the judge said, drawing exclamations of dismay from Assange supporters in the public gallery.

Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not immediately say whether he would.

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