Europe

Sweden rejects Assange appeal to drop arrest warrant

File photo of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from December 2011 Image copyright AP
Image caption Julian Assange has been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since June 2012

A Swedish court has rejected an appeal by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange against his arrest warrant for alleged sex offences.

The warrant was issued by Sweden in 2010 on two allegations of sexual assault.

Mr Assange denies the assault claims and has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since June 2012.

Swedish investigators are now likely to proceed with plans to travel to London to question Mr Assange.

The Supreme Court said it saw "no reason to lift the arrest warrant", since moves to question Mr Assange in London were already in place.

Mr Assange's lawyer, Per Samuelson, told Reuters."We are of course disappointed and critical of the Supreme Court's way of handling the case.

"This decision has been taken without letting us close our argument."

The 43-year-old Australian has been living in a small suite of rooms in Ecuador's embassy since requesting asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition.

Mr Assange denies the allegations of sexual assault, made by two women he met during a trip to Sweden in August 2010.

He claims they are part of a plot to extradite him to the US because of Wikileaks' publication of thousands of classified US documents.

But the former computer hacker has not been charged with any crime in the US and the Americans have not issued the UK with an extradition request.

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