News / Europe

Sweden Issues Second Arrest Warrant for WikiLeaks' Assange

This screen grab of Interpol website taken on 01 Dec 2010 shows an Interpol public 'Red Notice' of Sweden's request for assistance in tracking down 39-year-old Australian WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange (File)
This screen grab of Interpol website taken on 01 Dec 2010 shows an Interpol public 'Red Notice' of Sweden's request for assistance in tracking down 39-year-old Australian WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange (File)
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The director of communications of Sweden's Prosecution Authority told VOA that Sweden has issued a European arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, because he is wanted for interrogation as suspect in a case involving rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. She says Assange has not been charged.

The Swedish prosecutor wants to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Karin Rosander is the Director of communications of the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

"There is a European arrest warrant and he is wanted for interrogation because he is a suspect in a case concerning, among other things, rape," said Rosander.

INTERPOL, the world's largest police organization, made public a red notice earlier this week at the request of Swedish authorities. That amounts to an international wanted person's alert, but does not obligate a police force to arrest the person.

Rosander says Sweden has not asked for extradition and would not comment whether it would. The prosecutor has not filed formal charges against Assange.

"He is not charged but he is a suspect in among other things rape. The other crimes are that he is suspected of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion," Rosander said.

Assange's London lawyer Mark Stephens says this is Sweden's second attempt at issuing a warrant. Stephens calls the whole process unnecessary and disproportionate because his client wants to cooperate.

"He offered through me and through my Swedish co-counsel to meet with the prosecutor but she has so far declined," he said.

Stephens says attempts to clear this up with the Swedish prosecutor have fallen on deaf ears.

"We've been trying to get in touch with her consistently for about the last two weeks almost every day, we've even launched a proceedings in Sweden to understand what the nature of the allegations are against him," he said.

Stephens says it is almost impossible for Assange to defend himself without knowledge of the allegations or the evidence.

Some analysts speculate the prosecutor may have other motives. Rosander denies that.

"The prosecutor has been very clear that there is no political motive whatsoever, she has not been contacted by any authorities or any other countries," said Rosander.

Assange's lawyer disagrees.

"She may be saying that but in that case she's treating the Swedish court of appeals decision with casual indifference that she's treated the requests, including formal requests for information about the allegations against him," said the lawyer.

Stephens says only Sweden is pursuing Assange.

"Nobody from officialdom from any country on the planet has asked to interview Julian Assange, indeed law enforcement from many countries know where Julian is and how to get in touch with him," Stephens said.

There have been reports that Assange is here in Britain . He held a brief online session on a British newspaper's website Friday, but the site repeatedly crashed and he only answered 15 of the hundreds of questions he was asked. None addressed the Swedish allegations.

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