Swedish court won't kill Wikileaks founder's arrest warrant

Swedish prosecutors still want to question Julian Assange over sexual assault allegations by two women

Sweden's Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal from Wikileaks' Julian Assange to quash an arrest warrant related to sexual assault accusations from two women.

The Supreme Court will hear cases where it is important to establish a judgment that may set a precedent for the Swedish district courts and courts of appeal, but it decided that was not the case with Assange's appeal.

Assange, 39, of Australia, is wanted for questioning by Swedish prosecutors. He has contested the allegations, maintaining the encounters were consensual. An arrest warrant on rape charges was issued by a duty prosecutor in late August, but quickly dropped by Swedish Chief Prosecutor Eva Finné when she took over the case.

A week later, Swedish Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny re-opened the investigation into the rape charges and said she wanted to question Assange.

Assange contends he has made himself available for questioning by Swedish prosecutors, who have not responded, according to his attorney in London, Mark Stephens. Assange has not been charged and has recently stayed out of the public eye.

On Wednesday, Interpol issued a "red notice" for Assange, which circulates the Swedish arrest warrant among international police agencies to watch out for him with a view to arrest and extradite him.

Stephens has questioned the timing of the red notice, which comes in the same week as Wikileaks has begun releasing portions of 250,000 or so U.S. diplomatic cables it possesses.

The cables continue to stir tension between the U.S. and other countries due to the frequently frank assessments written by diplomats.

In July, Private First Class Bradley E. Manning was charged by the U.S. Army with mishandling and transferring classified information. He is the alleged source of the classified State Department cables as well as the video of an Army Apache helicopter shooting civilians in Iraq.

(Mikael Ricknäs in Stockholm contributed to this report.)


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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