Sweden files request to arrest Wikileaks founder Assange

The Swedish state prosecutor investigating rape allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange filed a request in the district court on Monday to detain him in absentia, reports say.

Prosecutor Eva-Marie Perrson said she will issue a European arrest warrant if the court decides to detain him.

Although the rape case against Assange was closed two years ago after he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, there was speculation the case may be reopened once he is arrested by the metropolitan police.

The Ecuadorian government evicted him from their embassy last month leading to his arrest and a London court sentenced him to 50 weeks in Belmarsh’s high-security jail for breaching bail.

Perrson said last week that she wanted to reopen the rape case against him.

Assange does not want to face trial in Sweden as he fears the government may soon extradite him to the US where he is facing criminal charges for helping former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in stealing classified documents and later publishing them in Wikileaks.

Perrson said the UK authorities will have to make a choice between extradition of Assange to the US or Sweden.

According to court filings, Assange allegedly raped a woman when she was asleep in her home in August 2010 following a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm.

The district court is expected to set the date for Assange’s detention hearing.

WikiLeaks’ editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said the investigation would help Assange in clearing his name. Sweden is facing political pressure to reopen the case, he added.