Skip to main content

Interpol puts Assange on most-wanted list

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Warrant out for WikiLeaks founder
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Interpol puts WikiLeaks founder on wanted list
  • Julian Assange faces five counts in alleged sexual crimes in Sweden
  • Assange has maintained his innocence

(CNN) -- Interpol, at the request of a Swedish court looking into alleged sex crimes from earlier this year, has put WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on its most-wanted listed.

The Stockholm Criminal Court two weeks ago issued an international arrest warrant for Assange on probable cause, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in August incidents.

Sweden asked Interpol, the international police organization, to post a "Red Notice" after a judge approved a motion to bring him into custody.

The "Red Notice" is not an international arrest warrant. It is an advisory and request, issued to 188 member countries "to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition," according to Interpol.

What is WikiLeaks? How it works
Who is Julian Assange?
Assange: No one has been harmed
WikiLeaks next target: U.S. bank
RELATED TOPICS

The Swedish court ordered Assange, 39, formally arrested in his absence, which requires Swedish authorities anywhere in the world to detain Assange if they come across him. Sweden's director of prosecutions, Marianne Ny, had requested the arrest-in-absence.

"The background is that he has to be heard in this investigation and we haven't been able to get a hold of him to question him," Ny said at the time.

Assange faces five counts that appear related to two incidents, according to the request Ny filed with the court.

He faces one count of rape and one count of sexual molestation related to an instance around August 17 in Enkoping, just outside Stockholm. He then faces two counts of sexual molestation between August 13 and 18 in Stockholm, and one count of illegal use of force between August 13 and 14, also in the capital.

Assange could be sentenced to at least two years in prison if convicted, according to the document.

Assange, an Australian, was rejected for permanent residency in Sweden in October. Swedish Migration Board official Gunilla Wikstrom said his application failed to fulfill all the requirements but declined to give details.

On Monday, Ecuador invited Assange to come to Quito to discuss documents leaked on the site relating to Ecuador and other Latin American countries, according to a statement from the country's foreign ministry.

The ministry also offered to process a request for residency "in accordance with the country's current laws."

In a November news release, Assange's British lawyer said the sex-crime charges stem from consensual sexual relationships his client had with two women.

"Only after the women became aware of each other's relationships with Mr. Assange did they make their allegations against him," lawyer Mark Stephens said in the statement.

Stephens also said neither he nor Assange "have ever received a single written word, at any time, in any form, from Swedish authorities on the Swedish investigation against our client."

The media has been the only way they've learned substantial information about the investigation, Stephens said. He called it "a clear contravention to Article 6 of the European Convention, which states that every accused must be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him."

Swedish prosecutors announced over the summer they were investigating Assange in two separate cases of rape and molestation. Ny said then there was reason to believe a crime had been committed, but that more investigation was necessary before she could make a final decision.

Assange has maintained he is innocent, telling the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera the accusations were a "smear campaign."

Part of complete coverage on
What next for Julian Assange?
What next for WikiLeaks editor and founder Julian Assange, now that he's been released on bail in the UK?
Assange condemns investigations
Julian Assange says the sexual misconduct charges against him are little more than an effort to discredit him and his organization.
Assange released on bail
WikiLeaks editor walks out of London court after being freed on bail nine days after being arrested for questioning about alleged sex crimes in Sweden.
Assange's apparent online dating life
In 2006, Julian Assange was apparently looking for a date. After launching WikiLeaks, he evidently created a profile on OkCupid.com.
Assange finds celebrity support
A court in London found itself in the world's spotlight, as a small army of celebrities turned up to offer support -- and bail money -- to Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks rival set to launch
The founders of Openleaks.org say they are former WikiLeaks members unhappy with the way the organization is being run under Julian Assange.
Amazon.com attack planned
Hackers who support WikiLeaks want others to replicate the attacks they say took down the websites of MasterCard and Visa.
Expert: 'Poison pill' can't be stopped
Does Julian Assange's threat to release "Doomsday Files" from Wikileaks carry validity?
 
Quick Job Search