Assange Still on Hook for Sex Crimes in Sweden
(CN) - A Swedish court on Wednesday upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid facing sexual assault allegations in his home country.
In 2010, two female WikiLeaks volunteers accused Assange of turning consensual sexual encounters into nonconsensual misconduct when he stopped wearing a condom. Assange has denied the allegations, blaming the United States for making up the story in an effort to to stop his release of sensitive diplomatic cables.
Assange's lawyers begged the Swedish court to repeal the arrest warrant, since it cannot be enforced as long as he's in the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange also took issue with the fact that Swedish prosecutors have never bothered to travel to London to interrogate him.
And Assange expressed fears that Sweden would turn around and extradite him to the United States, which he believes is keen to try him on espionage charges for one of the largest leaks of classified information in history.
Several U.K. courts have refused to block Assange's extradition, including the British Supreme Court in 2012.
The Swedish court said Wednesday that any inconvenience to Assange is outweighed by the gravity of the charges against him.
"He should therefore continue to be wanted for arrest in his absence," the court wrote.
British police say they have spent over $10 million patrolling Ecuador's embassy in the last year, in hopes that Assange would make a run for it.
For his part, Assange has said he will never leave the embassy out of fear of the United States and its intelligence agencies.