WikiLeaks founder wanted by Interpol

Reuters, Tuesday 30 Nov 2010

Interpol has issued a "red notice" to aid in the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is wanted on sex crime allegations in Sweden.

Assange in a press conference
Reuters: Julian Assange, founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, holds a news conference at the Geneva Press Club in Geneva in this November 4, 2010 file photo.

Interpol issued a "red notice" Tuesday to assist in the arrest of Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, who is wanted in Sweden on suspicion of sexual assault.

Assange, a former computer hacker and now at the centre of global controversy after WikiLeaks released a trove of classified US diplomatic cables at the weekend, denies the Swedish allegations.

The website of Interpol, the international police agency, said that anyone with information on the Australian-born Assange, 39, should contact their national or local police.

Red notices allow arrest warrants issued by national police authorities to be circulated to other countries to facilitate arrests and help possible extradition.

Assange's current whereabouts are not known and he is believed to move from one country to another.

A Swedish court on 18 November ordered the detention of Assange. The prosecutor's office had started an investigation into allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion against Assange in September.

Assange's lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, told journalists after the hearings he expected a European arrest warrant would be issued for Assange, who had sometimes visited Sweden in the past, and that he would probably appeal.

Assange has called the allegations baseless and criticised what he has called a legal circus in Sweden, where he had been seeking reisdency in order to benefit from Sweden's strong laws protecting journalism.

WikiLeaks has angered the United States by releasing more than 250,000 State Department cables exposing the inner workings of US diplomacy, including brutally candid assessments of world leaders.


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