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Assange 'hypothetically' free if arrest warrant attraction granted, ruling due February 6

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PAWill Julian Assange walk free today

The hearing involved a plea by Assange's lawyers to cancel a pending arrest warrant against the campaigner.

The Wikileaks founder sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he denies.

While the Swedish investigation is no longer being actively pursued, British authorities say the Wikileaks founder will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

A decision on whether to quash Assange's arrest warrant is due to be made at the same court on 6 February.

"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", the documents read, according to the Guardian.

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"I'm aware that he has depression, a frozen shoulder and a awful tooth".

The Australian-born Assange had feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of a large trove of classified military and diplomatic documents - one of the largest information leaks in US history.

"We say it's lost its objective and its function", he said.

Assange's lawyers told the Westminster Magistrate's Court on Friday that the arrest warrant against their client could no longer apply after Swedish prosecutors' decision in May a year ago to drop their probe into allegations of sexual misconduct and withdraw their European Arrest Warrant.

Ecuador this month awarded Assange citizenship hours after the British government refused a request for him to be given diplomatic status, which would have given Assange immunity from arrest should he try to leave the embassy. It's thought the move was created to allow him safely leave the United Kingdom under diplomatic immunity, but the United Kingdom government has denied the request.

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