Swedish Court Upholds Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

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Common Dreams

Swedish Court Upholds Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

Lawyers vow to appeal case against Wikileaks founder

(Photo: acidpolly/Flickr/Creative Commons)

A Swedish court ruled on Wednesday to uphold an arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange related to investigation in that country surrounding allegations of sexual assault.

Judge Lena Egelin said the warrant will remain in place, but Assange's lawyers plan to appeal the ruling.

Swedish reporter Per Nyberg tweeted:

Assange, who is Australian, has been living in the Embassy of Ecuador in London since 2012. Ecuador granted Assange asylum, accepting his argument that if sent to Sweden he could face possible extradition and political persecution by the United States.

Although Assange has not been charged with any crime, he is wanted by police for questioning over allegations of sexual assault of two women in 2010. According to the Associated Press, Swedish prosecutors "declined to allow the possibility of questioning him in London."

Assange, who has denied the claims and repeatedly made offers to answer questions concerning the investigation, has said he fears being extradited to Sweden would lead to his being sent to the U.S. where he is the subject of an ongoing Justice Department investigation and a possible sealed federal indictment. White House officials condemned Wikileaks for its massive release of secret government files and have called Assange an "enemy of the state" for his journalistic work including exposing war crimes in Iraq and high level diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world.

Last month, a number of international human rights groups, press freedom advocates and civil society organizations said that Assange's legal treatment by the Swedish government is politically motivated and in direct violation of his human rights. In the lead-up to today's ruling, the organizations called on the United Nations and the Human Rights Commission in Geneva to intervene on Assange's behalf, calling him a "political prisoner."

Camilla Murray, chief administrator at the court, told Agence France-Presse that even if the arrest warrant had been cancelled, the case against Assange would not have been dropped.

Scotland Yard says if Assange steps outside the Ecuadorian embassy, he will be arrested.

The Guardian is providing live coverage of the ruling here. Swedish Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge also live-blogged the hearing from the Stockholm District Court.

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