The attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asked a London court on Friday to drop the arrest warrant that stems from his breach of bail conditions in Britain, a move that could enable him to eventually leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London if successful.
Assange, 46, has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he denies.
Swedish prosecutors have since dropped their probe into the allegations but British police have said Assange would be arrested for breaching bail conditions should he leave the building.
Assange’s attorney, Mark Summers, made the request to the Westminster Magistrates Court on behalf of his client, arguing that, since last May Sweden closed the case and suspended his international arrest warrant, the order of British detention “has lost its purpose”.
A spokesman for Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service admitted last week that Assange may have a good case. “He is seeking to have the warrant of arrest discontinued because the Swedes have confirmed that the extradition warrant is no longer live,” he said.
“He is seeking that therefore the warrant of arrest should be taken out as well.”
Asked if a successful ruling could enable Assange to walk free, the spokesman replied: “Hypothetically yes, that would be our interpretation.”