Julian Assange: Swedish lawyers ask court to overturn arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder

Journalist has spent the last three years in Ecuadorian embassy in London after failing to fight extradition to Sweden to face questioning over rape allegations

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 22 February 2016 13:14 GMT
Julian Assange addresses the media on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London
Julian Assange addresses the media on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London (Reuters)

Lawyers have made a formal request to a Swedish court to overturn Julian Assange's arrest warrant in a rape case.

The journalist has spent more than three years hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after his appeal against extradition failed in the UK courts.

Thomas Olsson, one of Assange's lawyers, said in a statement: "We consider that there have arisen a number of new circumstances which mean there is reason to review the earlier decision".

It follows the opinion published by a UN working group earlier this month that Assange had been "unlawfully detained" in the embassy.

Assange filed a complaint in 2014 with the UN committee - arguing that he was "arbitrarily detained" because he could not leave the embassy without being arrested.

He was first accused of one count of rape and another of molestation of two Swedish women by the Swedish Prosecutors' Office in August 2010 but was initially released and allowed to leave the country.

A few months later he was arrested for a second time in London and released on bail following an extradition hearing.

In 2012, the UK Supreme Court ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations - which he has said are "without basis".

After the ruling he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge where he claimed political asylum - he alleges if he is sent to Sweden he will be rendered to the US to face trial and possible torture over his role in the Wikileaks revelations.

It comes as Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, said they were working on a new request to interview Assange in London.

She said a previous request had been rejected by the Prosecutor-General of Ecuador in January.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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