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WikiLeaks founder in UK, second arrest warrant likely

Source: PTI
December 03, 2010 23:01 IST
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A second warrant is likely to be issued shortly for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is reported to be in the United Kingdom at a secret location.

His British lawyer Mark Stephens told the BBC that the police knew where Assange was living if they needed to get in touch with him. Swedish prosecutors drew up a second European arrest warrant, after the first was rejected on legal grounds. Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sex crimes although no charges have been laid.

The WikiLeaks founder reportedly said in an online forum on Friday that no one will come to any harm due to the leak of thousands of confidential cables sent by United States embassy staff from around the world.

The BBC reported that detectives in Sweden wanted to question Assange after two women claimed they were sexually attacked when he visited the country in August.

Assange denies the allegations and has vowed to fight them in court, saying they are part of a smear campaign against him. His lawyer said his client was in a "bizarre situation" where he had tried to seek a meeting with the Swedish prosecutor to discuss the charges against him, but had been rebuffed.

"If the prosecutor had any concern for the women making the complaints, any concern about truth or justice, she would pick up the phone and get in touch with Julian -- she knows how to do it."

Once the European arrest warrant is received by Britain's serious organised crime agency, officers will check it and pass it on to local police, who will serve it on Assange.

Stephens said his client will challenge the warrant in court on the grounds that the process has been "utterly irregular".

The warrant, valid in all European Union member states, requires the receiving member state to arrest and extradite the suspect within 90 days of arrest, or within 10 days if the arrested person consents to surrender.

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