A Stockholm district court Wednesday upheld the arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing “probable cause for suspicion,” Reuters reported. Assange, 44, is wanted in Sweden over allegations of rape dating back to 2010. He denies the allegations and has not been charged.
The Australian’s lawyers were seeking to have the warrant withdrawn after a United Nations working group determined in February that Assange was subject to arbitrary detention at Ecuador's London embassy, reports the Guardian.
In a statement, the court said: “ The district court finds that there is still probable cause for the suspicion against JA (Julian Assange) for rape, less serious incident, and that there is still a risk that he will depart or in some other way evade prosecution or penalty.”
Marianne Ny, the director of public prosecutions, said in a statement: “In our opinion, the public interest to continue the investigation still carries weight. The efforts to conduct an interview and take DNA samples continue, and we are still awaiting a response to the application for legal assistance which was submitted to Ecuador in March 2016. The court shares our view that a continued detention complies with the principle of proportionality.”
Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London since July 2012, when he sought asylum to avoid extradition.