Sweden wants Wikileaks' founder Assange detained for rape charges

Julian Assange may have so far been able to escape any kind of serious prosecution for his disclosure of secret government documents, but accusations of rape have prompted a Swedish court to approve an arrest warrant for the Australian-born publisher.

Charges against Assange were initially dropped back in August, although two women involved in the accusations appealed that decision. The case was reopened in September, however Swedish authorities have yet been able to locate Assange to question him on the allegations.

The incidents were said to have happened while he was in Sweden giving presentations on Wikileaks' work to disclose US military documents on the war. In July, the organization disclosed more than 92,000 secret documents which seemed to indicate that the Afghan war was going much more poorly than the government had let on.

Assange is being accused of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion" according to a statement by the Ă…klagarmyndigheten, the Swedish prosecution authority. The District Court of Stockholm has decided to detain Mr. Assange in absentia, indicated its next step would be an international arrest warrant.

That would allow Sweden to ask other countries to also look for the Wikileaks founder, either through Interpol or Euopean Union cooperative agreements.

While he was not in court to answer to the charges, his lawyer Bjoern Hurtig said Assange denies all charges. He claimed the move to press for an arrest warrant by the prosecution was due to the failure of the two sides to settle on a date for Assange to appear for questioning.

Hurting refused to say whether his client was still in the country, although he said "sooner or later" Assange would be all but forced to appear in front of Swedish authorities.

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