Julian Assange detention order upheld by Swedish court

A Swedish court has decided to uphold the detention order on Julian Assange, reaffirming the legal basis for an international warrant for the WikiLeaks founder which has kept him hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

WikiLeaks founder remains in Ecuador's embassy in London, a fugitive from British police

WikiLeaks founder remains in Ecuador's embassy in London, a fugitive from British police 2:39

 A Swedish court on Wednesday upheld its detention order on Julian Assange, reaffirming the legal basis for an international warrant for the WikiLeaks founder which has kept him hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for two years.

Assange's lawyers said they will appeal the Stockholm district court's decision. No charges have been brought against Assange in Sweden, but he is wanted for questioning by police over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women he met during a visit to the Scandinavian country in 2010.

Prosecutors have declined to allow the possibility of questioning him in London.

Will appeal verdict

"All in all, the district court makes the assessment that the reasons for the arrest warrant offset the infringement and adverse effects the measure entails for Julian Assange," District court judge Lena Egelin said.

"He should therefore continue to be wanted for arrest in his absence."

Thomas Olsson, one of Assange's Swedish lawyers, said he would appeal the verdict.

Even if Sweden had dropped its case against Assange, he would face immediate arrest by British police for violating his bail conditions when he fled officials and sought refuge at the embassy.

The police have maintained a constant presence outside the embassy since then.

In a meeting last month with reporters at the embassy to mark his second year of hiding, Assange said had no intention of going to Sweden because he has no guarantees he wouldn't subsequently be sent to the United States, where an investigation into WikiLeaks's dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents remains live.

Police around the clock

Assange's lawyers argued the arrest warrant should be repealed because it cannot be enforced while Assange is in the embassy and the Swedish prosecutor had not considered the possibility of interrogating him in London.

Ecuador, which has granted Assange political asylum, wants London to assure him safe passage to Quito. But Britain has surrounded the Ecuadorian embassy with police officers round the clock ready to detain him if he leaves it.

British police say they have spent 6 million pounds ($11 million Cdn) from June 2012 until March this year on policing costs at the Ecuadorian embassy.

In an interview with Reuters last year, Assange said he would not leave the sanctuary of the embassy in London even if Sweden stops pursuing sexual assault claims against him because he feared arrest on the order of the United States.

With files from Reuters

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.