Swedish police sends out international warrant for Assange

Assange is accused of raping a Swedish woman & sexually molesting another.

Updated: Nov 21, 2010, 00:04 AM IST

Stockholm: Sweden`s criminal police has
issued an international arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder
Julian Assange, wanted on suspicion of rape and sexual
molestation, police said.

"Late last night we gathered all the information and
sent it out in the different systems," namely the Swedish
system, Schengen countries system SIS and Interpol, Tommy
Kangasvieri of the Swedish National Criminal Police said.

"The prosecutor had already decided to issue an
international arrest warrant, we made sure that all the police
forces in the world would see it," Kangasvieri explained.
Interpol, based in Lyon in eastern France, later said
it had received an arrest warrant for the extradition of
Assange.

The Stockholm district court on Thursday ordered an
arrest warrant for Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, for
questioning on "probable cause of suspected rape, sexual
molestation and unlawful coercion" in Sweden in August.

The court order allowed prosecutor Marianne Ny, who
had requested Assange`s detention, to prepare an international
arrest warrant for the head of the whistleblowing website, who
is believed to be in Britain.

Ny insisted on Thursday that arresting Assange was the
only way she could be sure of questioning him about the
allegations, which he has denied.

Assange`s Swedish lawyer Bjoern Hurtig yesterday filed
an appeal against the arrest warrant court order, but the
appeal did not suspend the Swedish order or delay the
international warrant.

However, Swedish media reported the petition would
likely be treated quickly by the appeals court, which could
rule on the warrant`s legitimacy in days.

Assange has been accused of raping one woman in Sweden
and sexually molesting another.

He has strongly denied the charges and hinted that
they could be part of a "smear campaign" against his
whistleblower website for publishing classified US documents
on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks last month published an unprecedented
400,000 classified US documents on the Iraq war and posted
77,000 secret US files on the Afghan conflict in July.

PTI