Bad news for Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange. Interpol, the international police agency, added Assange to its "most wanted" list Tuesday as the activist's website continued its leak of U.S. diplomatic cables. But the charges are reportedly not related at all to the information leak. Rather, the Wikileaks founder is being sought to answer charges of sexual assault in Sweden.
According to CNN, the Stockholm Criminal Court last week issued an international arrest warrant for Assange on probable cause, saying he is suspected of "rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force." Sweden had then asked Interpol to issue a "Red Notice" after a judge ordered he be brought into custody.
PC Magazine has more:
The arrest warrant is actually being issued by the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenberg, Sweden. Under the "Categories of Offenses" section, Interpol has listed "Sex Crimes".
In August, the Swedish courts issued another arrest warrant after indicting Assange of raping two women. However a judge threw out the ruling within the same week due to insufficient evidence. ...
On Nov. 18, a district court in Stockholm approved another a request from the alleged victims' prosecutor, Marianne Ny, to detain Assange in his absence. He was indicted for "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion," the statement said. "To execute the court's decision, the next step is to issue an international arrest warrant," the court added.
Assange's London counsel, Mark Stephens, has said in a letter that Ny has repeatedly turned down Assange's attempts to either meet in person or discuss the accusations over the phone.
Stephens added that the rape charges were insubstantial to begin with.
"As various media outlets have reported 'the basis for the rape charge' purely seems to constitute a post-facto dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex days after the event," he wrote. "Both women have declared that they had consensual sexual relations with our client and that they continued to instigate friendly contact well after the alleged incidents. Only after the women became aware of each other's relationships with Mr. Assange did they make their allegations against him."
In the midst of all the controversy surrounding the Australian native, Assange has officially been offered no-questions-asked residency in Ecuador
"We are open to giving [Assange] residency in Ecuador, without any problem and without any conditions," Kintto Lucas, the country's Deputy Foreign Minister, said in a statement this week. "We are going to try and invite him to Ecuador to freely present, not only via the Internet, but also through different public forums, the information and documentation that he has."
No one seems to know exactly where Assange is hiding out or whether he's currently living in a country that would extradite him to Sweden, but many believe Assange may be living in or near London. The Australian attorney general is reportedly currently considering revoking Assange's Australian passport.