Fedster + 1,307 Posted February 5, 2019 Share Posted February 5, 2019 Health issues may force fugitive out of embassy bolthole. Embassy refugee: Julian Assange Date - 5th February 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle The “deteriorating health” of the UK’s most high-profile refugee may trigger a legal clash with the Met Police over an outstanding historical arrest warrant. The Australian High Commission has reportedly confirmed it is providing assistance to Wikileeaks founder Julian Assange who has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for nearly seven years. The 47-year-old, said to be suffering chronic pain in his arm and in need of dental work, fears if he ends his self-imposed asylum by setting foot outside the Knightsbridge building – he will be detained by Scotland Yard officers. Mr Assange has been in hiding in the embassy since June 19, 2012, originally to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations in Stockholm. Although a European Arrest Warrant has been revoked, he still faces the lesser charge of failing to surrender to court and fears it could still lead to extradition to the United States over the leaks of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic and military documents. Diplomatic staff have made a preliminary secret visit to see the native Australian, who wants to secure permission from the UK for him to have medical treatment outside the embassy without being detained. UK Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan said: “If [Assange] were to step out of the embassy . . . first priority would be to look after his health.” But the Met, which refused point blank to discuss the issue with Police Oracle, is likely to be sticking to the letter of the law. Last February, London senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot upheld the warrant for the arrest of Mr Assange for skipping bail – saying he should have the courage to face court and not feel he is “above the law”. His legal team again argued that the outstanding warrant – which dates back to 2012 – should be dismissed because it had “lost its purpose and function” after a Swedish investigation over sex-related allegations was dropped last year. But there would be nothing stopping Scotland Yard arresting Mr Assange before allowing him to seek medical attention. And on a legal note, the Wikileaks businessman – granted a citizenship of Ecuador in November 2017 – could still technically be prosecuted if he returned to Sweden before the statute of limitation on the case expires in August 2020 as the preliminary investigation could be resumed, according to the country’s prosecutor Marianne Ny. Mr Assange – who has little opportunity to exercise and minimal exposure to sunlight in the last 80 months – has steadfastly denied the allegations against him since they were made following a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010. View On Police Oracle Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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