WikiLeaks founder subject to new arrest warrant issued following request by Britain’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency
The Swedish authorities today issued a new arrest warrant for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, following a request by the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency.
Assange is wanted in Sweden to face allegations of sexual crimes committed in there in August, which he denies.
The original papers, issued in connection with suspicion of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion”, were reportedly incomplete because they had listed only the maximum penalty for the most serious crime alleged, rather than for all of the crimes.
There were unconfirmed reports yesterday that Assange had escaped arrest on Wednesday only because of the error and that British police are aware of his location. But his London lawyer, Mark Stephens, said that no warrant valid under Swedish, European or international law had been issued. “There is no arrest warrant against him,” he told Reuters.
“There was an Interpol red notice, which is not a warrant, alerting authorities to monitor his movements.”
Interpol put Assange on its wanted list after a Stockholm district court issued a warrant for his arrest on 18 November at the request of prosecutor Marianne Ny, who said she had been unable to question him.
Police sources said there was no manhunt for Assange, although forces will share intelligence about his whereabouts if it becomes available.
“We will have to see what comes of the belief in some quarters that he is somewhere outside London,” a source said.
Assange is due to give an online interview to Guardian readers today.
He came under renewed fire in the United States for his role in the publication of more than 250,000 American diplomatic cables.
US undersecretary of state William Burns said in Washington that the release of the classified papers by WikiLeaks had “substantially hurt” US diplomatic efforts.