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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asks United Kingdom court to scrap arrest warrant

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asks United Kingdom court to scrap arrest warrant

Assange "hypothetically" free if arrest warrant appeal granted, ruling due February 6 A British judge said Friday that she would rule over Julian Assange's arrest warrant appeal early next month.

A court heard the Wikileaks founder was suffering from depression, a frozen shoulder and painful toothache after hiding in Ecuador's London embassy from rape allegations and arrest for skipping bail since 2012.

The 46-year-old feared Sweden would hand him over to the USA to face prosecution over the leaking of huge amounts of classified military and diplomatic documents.

Swedish prosecutors have since dropped the investigation, but Assange can still be arrested in the United Kingdom for breaching his original bail conditions.

Watkins said the case against Assange was "extremely simple" in that he had failed to surrender to custody in answer to bail, therefore the warrant still stood.

Ahead of the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Reuters: "He is seeking to have the warrant of arrest discontinued because the Swedes have confirmed that the extradition warrant is no longer live".

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British prosecutors are opposing the dropping of the arrest warrant.

For some Assange is seen as a cyber hero who exposed government abuses of power, for others he is a criminal who undermined the security of the West by exposing secrets.

British police have said the charge of skipping bail is a much less serious offence than rape, but Assange could still face up to a year in jail if convicted.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, the judge who is now also presiding over the extradition trial of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya - the next hearing date for which remains uncertain, reserved her judgement in the Assange case after a hearing on Friday.

He has been unable to leave the building, in London's wealthy Knightsbridge district, for the past five years without risking arrest and extradition.

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