MOSCOW, November 20 (RAPSI) – Court of Appeals for Svealand on Thursday left in force the arrest order for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, suspected of rape and sexual harassment, The Local reports.
The court rejected Assange’s notion that his self imposed exile to the Ecuadorian embassy in London is equal to serving time in prison. The court reasoned that Assange could leave anytime he wanted, however agreeing that that would lead to his immediate extradition to Sweden.
Assange’s defense team argued that the arrest order should be voided as it was issued in 2010, and since then, the Swedish investigators decided against going to London to question Assange, as they consider it counterproductive.
The case against the Australian-born programmer and journalist was opened in August 2010, when two Swedish women told the police about their sexual encounters with Assange.
The motion to invalidate the arrest warrant on the grounds that it was issued years back was filed at the Stockholm court by Assange’s lawyers.
Assange, 41, was arrested in the UK in December 2010 and subsequently lost several trials there. Unable to avoid extradition to Sweden, he requested and was granted asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy in London in 2012. He hasn’t left the embassy premises since.
The UK authorities are resolved to honor their commitment to Sweden.
Assange said he was innocent and that the case against him was politically motivated. He believes the Swedish authorities plan to extradite him to the US.
Wikileaks earned worldwide fame after publishing the correspondence of the US State Department employees and US military personnel. The latter was leaked by Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for this.
Wikileaks also helped Edward Snowden, former employee of US intelligence agencies CIA, DIA and NSA, who uncovered the existence of numerous US global surveillance programs.