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Interpol issues wanted notice for WikiLeaks founder Assange over 'sex crimes'

By Abdul Nisar

Washington, Dec 1 (ANI): The Interpol has issued a 'wanted' notice in Sweden against Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, in connection with "sex crimes" that he had denied earlier.

According to the Guardian, the warrant has been issued by the international public prosecution office in Gothenburg, Sweden, and reads: "If you have any information contact your national or local police. Wanted: Assange, Julian Paul."

Assange has been denying any wrongdoing but admited 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.

Under the EAW scheme, which allows for fast-tracked extradition between EU member states, a warrant must indicate a formal charge in order to be validated, and must be served on the person accused, the paper said.

However, the Swedes appear determined to force Assange back to Sweden for questioning, it added.

Stockholm's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, had said last month: "So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogation."

According to the paper, 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.

On Sunday, Wikileaks began publishing about 250,000 US diplomatic cables in a third major release of classified US documents. The first two concerned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (ANI)

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