Sweden to Assange: We Won't Ax Arrest Warrant

WikiLeaks founder's request to dismiss order is denied
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2014 9:46 AM CST
Sweden to Assange: We Won't Ax Arrest Warrant
In this 2012 file photo, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, speaks from a balcony at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.   (Kirsty Wigglesworth)

A Swedish appeals court upheld the arrest warrant for Julian Assange today, dismissing a challenge by the WikiLeaks founder wanted by Swedish prosecutors in an investigation of alleged sex crimes. Confirming a ruling by a lower court, the Svea appeals court said there is no reason to lift the detention order just because it cannot be enforced at the moment. Assange has avoided extradition to Sweden by taking shelter in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He hasn't been formally indicted in Sweden, but is wanted for questioning by police about allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women he met during a visit in 2010. The court criticized prosecutors, who have declined Assange's offer to be questioned in London, for not considering "alternative avenues" to move the investigation forward.

His lawyers argued that the detention order that underlies Sweden's request for his extradition should be lifted, on the grounds that it cannot be enforced while he is at the embassy and because it is restricting Assange's civil rights. "In the view of the Court of Appeal there is no reason to set aside the detention solely because Julian Assange is in an embassy and the detention order cannot be enforced at present for that reason," the court said in a statement. "The reasons for detention still outweigh the reasons to the contrary since Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature," the court added. An Assange lawyer said they would appeal to Sweden's Supreme Court. (More Julian Assange stories.)

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