Lyon: The global police agency INTERPOL Wednesday said it had alerted member states to arrest WikiLeaks` founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape on the basis of a
Swedish arrest warrant.
"There is a public `Red Notice` on behalf of Sweden,"
a spokeswoman told AFP, confirming that INTERPOL had posted
Sweden`s request for assistance in tracking down the
39-year-old Australian on its website.
Sweden`s International Public Prosecution Office in
Gothenburg issued an arrest warrant for the secretive activist
on November 18, citing "probable cause of suspected rape,
sexual molestation and unlawful coercion."
Assange, whose current location is unclear, contested
the warrant in a Swedish appeals court, but his first bid to
get it thrown out was rejected last week and he has lodged a
In the meantime, he could face arrest and extradition
to Sweden from anywhere in the world where local authorities
decide to act on the warrant.
Some of Assange`s supporters have accused unnamed
forces of framing him for the alleged sexual assaults on two
Swedish women in Sweden in August, in order to undermine his
campaign to publicise secret documents.
The elusive activist`s lawyers have not taken this
tack, however, arguing instead that the prosecutor should not
need to arrest him simply to question him, as he had proposed
several dates and times for questioning.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks` crusade has continued, with this
week`s dump of the first of around a quarter of a million
secret US State Department cables online and a barrage of leaks in world newspapers.
The release of the documents, mainly internal US
diplomatic telegrammes, has proved highly embarrassing for the
United States and some of its allies, with surprise
revelations and indiscreet asides about world events.
Assange gave an interview to Time magazine yesterday
from an undisclosed location through the Skype Internet phone
service. Although Australian, he is thought to live mainly in
Europe, and has been seen recently in Britain.
Many countries around the world, including the US,
have denounced the theft and exposure of the cables as a
criminal act that undermines global stability and diplomatic