We’ve recently learned a bit more about the inner workings of the mind of Julian Assange, now a long-term resident of the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he seeks to avoid arrest and prosecution. Just yesterday, John was writing about some of his private emails and his, shall we say… less than glowing reviews of Hillary Clinton. His legal problems continue unabated, however, as he seeks to have the pending arrest warrants against him dismissed.
Now that the Swedes have abandoned their efforts to have him extradited, Assange seems to think that if he can get out of the embassy without the London police immediately slapping cuffs on him, he could get to the airport and make it to Ecuador where he now has dual citizenship. With that in mind, his attorney went back to court this month attempting to have the warrants dismissed. Yesterday the judge delivered the court’s ruling and it once again did not go in Assange’s favor. (Boston Globe)
A British judge upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange for the second time in a week on Tuesday, a significant setback for him after 5½ years of evading authorities by living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Before a packed London courtroom, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected the arguments made by Assange’s lawyer, stating that he was not a prisoner, that his living conditions were nothing like those of a prison, and that he could have as many visitors as he liked. In fact, she said, he could — and should — walk free at any time to meet his legal fate.
“He is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice,” Arbuthnot said. “He wants justice only when it’s in his favor.”
Assange’s attorney’s argument is sketchy at best. Even under the most generous stretches of the definition of the word, Assange is not in any way, shape or form a “prisoner” in the embassy. In an actual prison or jail, there are barriers and law enforcement officers actively working to keep you inside.
Julian Assange is free to walk out of the embassy at any time he likes, and there are probably more than a few people in there who would hold the door for him after being saddled with this uninvited “guest” for more than five years. He has access to the best food he can afford to have delivered and guests who wish to see him come and go on a regular basis. He has a phone, access to the internet and most of the comforts of home. He simply chooses not to leave because he doesn’t want to face his day in court and wind up in an actual jail cell.
But let’s say the judge does eventually relent and ditch the local arrest warrant. Would Assange actually make it out? The Boston Globe article brings up one intriguing point. There has never been any official confirmation of Assange’s fears that the United States has an undisclosed agreement with 10 Downing Street to turn him over to us the moment he steps outside. But there’s never actually been a denial, either. We have plenty of agents over there who could certainly be summoned to take possession of Assange on short notice if the local bobbies got him in the back of a squad car.
Wouldn’t that be a deliciously ironic end to this story? Five years of legal battles finally culminate in the dismissal of the warrant. A victorious Assange finally walks free of the embassy to greet his throngs of adoring supporters. And just like that he has a bag put over his head and twelve hours later he’s sitting in an office at Quantico wearing an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs. It would make for one heck of a movie ending.