UK judge upholds arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder

LONDON (AP) — A British judge today upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent more than five years evading the law 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, where prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women. He has denied the allegations.

Arbuthnot said Assange should come to court and make his case like any other defendant and did not mince words in leveling her decision at Westminster Magistrates' Court. She said that by jumping bail Assange had made "a determined attempt to avoid the order of the court," before rejecting each argument made by his attorneys.

"The impression I have ... is that he is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice," she said. "He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favor."

Assange is able to appeal, but his lawyers don't yet know whether he will.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future. But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

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