Julian Assange has pleaded for a warrant for his arrest to be cancelled so he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy as he is suffering from “depression and a terribly bad tooth”.
The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up for five and a half years, has argued that the only thing stopping him leaving the building and heading to the South American country is a threat he will be held by police for breaching his bail conditions.
His lawyers argue that as proceedings in Sweden over rape allegations have now been dropped the British arrest warrant has lost its purpose.
But he is unlikely to leave the Knightsbridge embassy yet, as Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot reserved her judgement until next month.
“I am particularly concerned that there is some medical issues”, she told Westminster Magistrates Court. “I am aware that he has depression, frozen shoulder and a terribly bad tooth.”
Legal proceedings concerning the rape were dropped in May last year, but the Swedish prosecution team argue there is still life in the case, Westminster Magistrates Court heard.
The 46-year-old fears if arrested he could be extradited to America where he is wanted for leaking highly secretive documents.
In a case summary handed to the court, his defence lawyer Mark Summers QC argued: “He has spent 5 and a half years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril.”
His lawyers have handed the judge medical evidence as part of their claim to to get his arrest warrant dropped.
Assange’s decision to take refuge in the embassy in 2012 rather than surrender to police meant he lost £20,000 and his sureties -including socialite Jemima Khan, journalist John Pilger and film director Ken Loach – lost more than £90,000 between them.
His lawyers argue the only thing stopping him going to Ecuador is the arrest warrant issued for jumping bail.
Aaron Watkins, representing the CPS, said: “Mr Assange has been released on bail in proceedings, he was under a duty to surrender to custody of the court and he failed to surrender at the appointed time, therefore a warrant stands.
“The position of which Mr Assange continues would be absurd were a defendant effectively to be rewarded with immunity to evade proceedings for so long that they fell away for whatever reason.”
Earlier this month Ecuador granted Assange citizenship as another ring of protection for the Wikileaks boss.
The case will continue at Westminster Magistrates Court on 6 February.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/26/julian-assange-pleads-leave-ecuadorian-embassy-depression-bad/