WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may stay holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a British judge ruled Tuesday not to drop charges against him - but the hacktivist still maintains hope of walking free.
If he steps off embassy grounds, he faces arrest for skipping bail in 2012 when he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning about alleged sex crimes.
Assange's lawyer Mark Summers had previously told the court the bail arrest warrant had "lost its objective and its function" when Sweden withdrew the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).
A judge ruled the 2012 warrant must stand, meaning Assange is still subject to arrest outside the walls of the embassy.
Still, Assange has been unable to leave the embassy in London, as he faced arrest for breaching his bail conditions in the UK.
He said Assange had been living in conditions "akin to imprisonment" and his "psychological health" has deteriorated and was "in serious peril". Assange has said he fears that if he leaves, he could be arrested and extradited to the United States - and possibly Guantanamo Bay - to stand trial in connection with leaked miltary materials including a video showing unarmed Iraqis being gunned down by an American helicopters.
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Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson said after the court session that he is willing to face British justice if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the U.S.to face prosecution. "This is and has always been our overriding concern".
There was no immediate comment from Assange on the ruling.
But prosecutor Aaron Watkins earlier called Assange's court bid "absurd".
Ecuador also asked Britain to grant him diplomatic status. A separate evening demonstration outside the Ecuadoran Embassy was planned for Tuesday evening.
However, Metropolitan Police in London said Mr Assange will still be arrested - for failing to surrender to a court - if he leaves the embassy.
Julian Assange won't be seeing the outside world anytime soon.