The Stockholm District Court [official website, in Swedish] upheld the arrest warrant [press release] for Julian Assange on Wednesday, finding he was not illegally detained in absentia. Assange has been held on allegations of rape [Reuters report] dating back to 2010. The court found there was probable cause to support the accusation. Assange has been at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over three years. He fears that Sweden’s efforts to extradite him will result in extradition to the US due to the fact that his company, WikiLeaks, released thousands of classified government documents. However, he has not been charged in the US.
WikiLeaks, and its founder Assange, have created significant controversy since the website began openly publishing government secrets. Last May the Swedish Supreme Court rejected [JURIST report] an appeal by Assange seeking to overturn a 2010 arrest warrant for alleged sexual assault that was reissued [JURIST report] by a lower court in late 2014. The warrant requires Assange to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has found asylum and travel to Sweden in order to be questioned about the allegations. The WikiLeaks documents [JURIST op-ed] have also garnered much debate in the US. Last year US Army Major General Jeffery Buchanan upheld [JURIST report] Private Chelsea Manning’s conviction and prison sentence for turning over classified information to WikiLeaks. In September 2013 Manning filed for a presidential pardon of the 35-year sentence [JURIST reports] she received 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.”