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A few months after a Stockholm District Court upheld the arrest warrant issued for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a Swedish appeals court has also ruled that the detention order against him will remain in force.
Assange, who is currently holed up in London's Ecuador Embassy, is wanted in the Scandinavian country for questioning over allegations that he raped one woman and molested another during a trip to Stockholm in 2010. He, however, denies the allegations, accusing police of making up the charges.
In his appeal, the Australian programmer argued that the warrant should be dismissed because despite making himself available for questioning in the UK, the Swedish authorities have refused to interview him, suggesting that the investigation "has not been conducted with the effectiveness and urgency which can be demanded."
Although the appellate court agreed with Assange's argument, saying that "the failure of the prosecutors to examine alternative avenues is not in line with their obligation – to move the preliminary investigation forward," it concluded that the arrest warrant will remain in effect, primarily because he is suspected of serious crimes, plus there is a risk that he will flee and thereby evade legal proceedings.
Assange refuses to go to Sweden over fears that Sweden could in turn extradite him to the United States, where he could face charges over the release of thousands of secret documents by Wikileaks. His legal team is now planning to to file an appeal with the country's Supreme Court.