Swedish judge upholds detention order for Assange

Assange hoped to get order lifted, and leave Ecuadorean in UK where he has been holed up for two years

By , IDG News Service |  Security

A Stockholm District Court judge ruled on Wednesday that the Swedish detention order against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, issued on allegations of sexual assault, will remain in force.

Assange had asked the District Court of Stockholm in late June to revoke the detention order, hoping that a revocation would get him closer to leaving the Ecuadorean embassy in the U.K., where has been holed up for over two years.

However, according to Judge Lena Egelin, there is still probable cause related to the allegations against him, and there is still a risk that he will fail to appear in court or in some other way avoid participation in the investigation and following proceedings, the court said in a news release.

"The Court has decided that there are still reasons for the order to remain in force to attempt to ensure that the legal proceedings will be concluded," according to a statement from the district court.

The Stockholm court ordered Assange to be detained in November 2010 "on probable cause suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion."

Because Assange's whereabouts were unknown at the time, an international arrest warrant was issued by Interpol, requesting Assange's arrest and extradition.

While Assange was officially ordered detained in Sweden, he has so far not been charged by the Swedish prosecution. His arrest warrant is part of a preliminary investigation against him.

Assange, who has maintained that the sexual incidents in question were consensual and the arrest warrant inaccurate and invalid, has said that he fears that an extradition to Sweden might eventually lead to his extradition to the U.S., where he could be charged for publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables. The U.S. is probing the leak of those cables as a national security case. A possible prosecution is still pending.

The WikiLeaks co-founder tried to fight extradition while staying in London, but eventually the U.K. Supreme Court denied his appeal. Having exhausted all options of appeal, he then took refuge in Ecuador's U.K. embassy in June 2012. The country granted him political asylum two months later, saying that there was reasonable fear of persecution by the U.S. and that the U.K., Sweden or his home country, Australia, wanted to provide guarantees to prevent a possible extradition to the U.S.

Assange has been holed up in the embassy ever since.

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