Assange Asks Swedish Court to Overturn Arrest Warrant

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuador embassy in west London in this August 19, 2012 file photo. Ecuador has asked Sweden to submit a new application over the questioning of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London, Swedish prosecutors said on February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/Files
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuador embassy in west London in this 2012 file photo. (Reuters/Olivia Harris/Files)

Lawyers for Julian Assange have asked a Swedish court to overturn an arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder following a ruling by a U.N. panel that his stay in Ecuador’s London embassy amounts to arbitrary detention.

Assange, 44, took refuge at the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he committed crimes in 2010, which he denies.

He says the accusation is a ploy that would eventually lead to his extradition to the United States, where a criminal investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks is still open.

“We consider that there have arisen a number of new circumstances which mean there is reason to review the earlier decision,” Thomas Olsson, one of Assange’s lawyers, said on Monday.

A second lawyer representing Assange said he remained willing to be questioned in the Ecuadoran embassy, according to Sweden’s national news agency.

Ecuador has granted Assange asylum and he says his rights have been infringed because he is unable to travel to the South American country.

Both Britain and Sweden denied that Assange was being deprived of freedom and the Swedish prosecutor in charge of the case has said she will renew an application to interview Assange.

Prosecutor Marianne Ny said the U.N. panel’s non-binding ruling had no impact on the case.

In 2010, WikiLeaks released more than 90,000 secret documents on the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, followed by almost 400,000 U.S. military reports detailing operations in Iraq. Those disclosures were followed by the release of millions of diplomatic cables dating back to 1973.

A U.S. Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing.