Assange's mother does not want son to be 'hunted down and jailed'

Melbourne, Dec 1(ANI): WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's mother has said that she does not want her son to be "hunted down and jailed", after international police organization Interpol issued an arrest request this morning.

The Australian was added to the organization's "wanted" list for alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden this year.

Christine Assange said that she was "very distressed" about the arrest request.

"He's my son and I love him and obviously I don't want him hunted down and jailed," the Age quoted Christine, as saying.

"I'm reacting as any mother would - I'm distressed," she added.

When asked whether she had moved to Queensland from Melbourne to escape media attention, Christine said: "A lot of stuff that's written about me and Julian is untrue."

Assange is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, after an investigation by Swedish prosecutors into his encounters with two women in Sweden in August.

The arrest request, called a "Red Notice", is "not an international arrest warrant", but means that Assange could be arrested and extradited to Sweden from any country if local authorities act on it.

"Many of Interpol's member countries consider a Red Notice to be a valid request for provisional arrest," Interpol said on its website.

Assange is currently contesting the warrant in a Swedish appeals court.

The 39-year-old has been denying any wrongdoing, but admitted having unprotected but consensual encounters with two women during a visit to Sweden in August.

Mark Stephens, his London-based lawyer, has described the allegations, as "false and without basis", adding that so far he has not been charged, which is an essential precondition for a valid European arrest warrant.

"Julian Assange has never been charged by Swedish prosecutors. He is formally wanted as a witness," Stephens said.

"All we have is an English translation of what's being reported in the media. The Swedish authorities have not met their obligations under domestic and European law to communicate the nature of the allegations against him in a language that he understands, and the evidence against him," he added.

Assange had earlier filed an appeal with Sweden's Supreme Court in an effort to overturn a ruling by the Stockholm district court that he be detained for questioning on allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. However, his petition was rejected by the Stockholm appeals court last week.

The Red Notice comes after the whistleblower website began publishing about 250,000 US diplomatic cables in a third major release of classified US documents. (ANI)

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