© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arrest Warrant For Julian Assange Still Stands, Swedish Court Says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears via videoconference at an auditorium in Quito, Ecuador, on June 23.
Rodrigo Buendia
AFP/Getty Images
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears via videoconference at an auditorium in Quito, Ecuador, on June 23.

The arrest warrant issued six years ago for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been upheld once again. On Friday, a Swedish appeals court dismissed Assange's latest challenge to the detention order against him.

The arrest warrant is related to allegations of sexual assault from 2010.

Assange, who has avoided extradition to Sweden by living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, has said for years that he fears being sent to Sweden would put him at risk of then being extradited to the U.S. If sent to the U.S., he believes he could face espionage charges related to the release of classified materials on WikiLeaks.

Assange has challenged the Swedish arrest warrant multiple times.

As we noted in 2014, when Svea Court of Appeal affirmed the validity of the arrest warrant, Assange has not been formally indicted in Sweden.

That's still true today: His detention order is to bring him in for questioning related to the sexual assault allegations.

Now the same appeals court has once again dismissed Assange's attempt to overturn the detention order.

The Associated Press reports that in its decision, the court noted Swedish prosecutors are trying to move the case forward.

As we've reported, prosecutors plan to interrogate Assange this fall — while he remains inside the embassy in London.

The AP has more on the court's decision, and the accusations behind the detention order:

"[The court] also brushed aside the findings of a U.N. working group, which described his stay at the London embassy as 'arbitrary detention.' The court noted that the panel's finding wasn't binding on Swedish courts and that Assange's stay at the embassy 'is not to be regarded as an unlawful deprivation of liberty.'

"The investigation stems from Assange's brief relationship with two women he met during a visit to Sweden six years ago. Allegations of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion were dropped last year when the statute of limitations expired. The rape allegation, which involves one of the women, will expire in 2020 if Assange hasn't been indicted by then."

Assange's lawyer tells the AP that they will appeal Friday's decision to Sweden's Supreme Court.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.