Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, asked a court in the United Kingdom to dismiss an arrest warrant that is keeping him from leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
In order to prevent extradition to Sweden due to allegations of sexual assault and rape, he sought asylum at the embassy in 2012. Assange refutes the allegations.
Swedish prosecutors halted their investigation in 2017, but Assange could be arrested for violating bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.
Mark Summers QC, Assange’s lawyer, advocated that the arrest warrant be dropped since the investigation was no longer being conducted.
"He [Assange] has spent five-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," defense papers said, according to the Guardian.
However, Aaron Watkins of the Crown Prosecution Service, claimed that dismissing the warrant would essentially mean Assange would be "rewarded with effective immunity" for evasion.
“The proper approach is that when a discrete, standalone offence of failing to surrender occurs, it always remains open to this court to secure the arrest,” Watkins said, according to the Guardian.
WikiLeaks is well known for publishing leaked secrets on its website. Among its controversial publications, the website has made public stolen emails from Democratic officials during the 2016 campaign as well as details on CIA hacking tools.
A U.S. intelligence community assessment determined with "high confidence" last January that WikiLeaks was used by Russian intelligence to release information as part of an effort to get President Trump elected. WikiLeaks denies this assertion.