A Swedish court on Thursday issued a warrant for the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape and sexual molestation.
“It has been decided that he be detained in absentia," Stockholm district court judge Alan Camitz told AFP.
Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny has said that the next step will be the issuing of an international arrest warrant for Assange.
Assange is facing one count of rape, two counts of sexual molestation and one further count of unlawful coercion, charges he and his Swedish lawyer Björn Hurtig strenuously deny.
“Assange denies everything that the prosecutor alleges,” Hurtig said in an interview after the hearing. “We haven’t been able to settle on a date for an interrogation and apparently the prosecutor ran out of patience.”
The crimes are alleged to have taken place between 13 and 18 August whilst he was in Sweden to give lectures on Wikileak’s publishing of thousands of classified US military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan.
If convicted, Assange could be sentenced to up to two years in prison.