[JURIST] A Swedish appeals court [official website] on Thursday upheld an arrest warrant to question Wikileaks [official website] founder Julian Assange about claims dealing with sexual assault. Assange has denied all the allegations behind the warrant and has taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy [BBC report] in London, where he has lived since June of 2012. The Swedish appeals court issued a statement [Al Jazeera report] in regards to the enforcement of the warrant stating, “[i]n the view of the Court of Appeal there is no reason to set aside the detention solely because Julian Assange is in an embassy and the detention order cannot be enforced at present for that reason.” A European arrest warrant has also been issued against Assange [arrest warrant, PDF] in an effort to help enforce the Swedish judiciary’s efforts. Although the warrant has been issued, no charges for sexual assault have been formally filed by Sweden. Assange has expressed a fear of being extradited [Guardian report] to the US where he faces a criminal trial for his WikiLeaks publications, and Sweden has offered no guarantee that it would not release Assange into US custody.
The WikiLeak trials [JURIST op-ed] have garnered much debate in the United States. In April US Army Major General Jeffery S. Buchanan upheld [JURIST report] Private Chelsea Manning’s [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] conviction and prison sentence for turning over classified information to WikiLeaks [official website]. Last September Manning filed for a presidential pardon of the 35-year sentence she received [JURIST reports] in August. The sentence came a month after she was found guilty [JURIST report] of violating the Espionage Act, but was acquitted of the more serious charge of “aiding the enemy.” In April the judge raised the burden of proof [JURIST report] in order to require the government to prove that Manning “knowingly” aided al Qaeda. In February Manning pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 10 of the 22 charges against her for providing classified materials to Wikileaks. Also in February the judge dismissed a motion [JURIST report] that argued for Manning’s release based on a lack of a speedy trial.