Swedish police said Thursday they would issue a new international arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to replace one that could not be enforced because of a procedural error.
"We have to refresh the warrant. It's a procedural fault, we agree. The prosecutor Marianne Ny has to write a new one," Tommy Kangasvieri of the Swedish National Criminal Police told AFP.
"The procedure demands that the maximum penalty for all crimes Assange is suspected for is written" in the warrant, he explained. "We described it only for the rape."
The Stockholm district court ordered on 18 November an arrest warrant for Assange for questioning on suspicion of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion" committed in Sweden in August.
The court order authorized Ny, who had requested the 39-year-old Australian's detention, to prepare an international arrest warrant for the hacker, who travels constantly.
Kangasvieri could not say how long it would take Swedish police to issue the new warrant for the Internet whistleblower, whose site has embarrassed world leaders by publishing thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables.
Britain's Times newspaper reported Thursday that British police knew where Assange was – believed to be a location in southeast England – but could not act on the information as the European arrest warrant was incorrectly filled out.
Sweden's Supreme Court said Thursday it had refused to hear Assange's appeal to overturn the district court ruling, which was his last possible chance to block the warrant.
Assange's Stockholm-based lawyer Bjoern Hurtig had taken the case to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, after a first petition was rejected by the Stockholm Appeals court in November.
Hurtig told AFP Thursday he would fight his client's extradition to Sweden in the event of his arrest.
"Together with my British colleague Mark Stephens and international experts, we will fight the extradition warrants," Hurtig told AFP.