Swedish Supreme Court refuses to withdraw Assange arrest warrant

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)
The Supreme Court in Sweden has rejected Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's request to cancel a warrant for his arrest following complaints of sexual misconduct against him in 2010.

Assange, who has been hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, was accused in 2010 by two Swedish women of committing rape and assault. The Australian was granted asylum inside the embassy in 2012 to avoid being sent to Stockholm for questioning.

Some legal experts believe Assange, 43, could be extradited to the United States, where authorities may want to question him over the 2010 Wikileaks release containing thousands of classified files on US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as some 250,000 diplomatic cables.

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Although Swedish investigators have agreed to question Assange in London sometime this year, they refused to lift the arrest warrant against him.

"The Supreme Court notes that investigators have begun efforts to question Julian Assange in London. The Supreme Court finds no reason to lift the arrest warrant," the court said in a statement.

Assange continues to deny the charges against him, saying that his sexual encounters with the two women were consensual.

The Australian’s legal team has expressed its disappointment with the decision.

"We are of course disappointed, and critical of the Supreme Court's way of handling the case. This decision has been taken without letting us close our argument," Assange's lawyer Per Samuelson told Reuters.

READ MORE: Sweden court to hear Assange’s appeal over arrest warrant

However, even in the event that Sweden drops its case against the Wikileaks founder, he still faces the possibility of being apprehended by British authorities for jumping bail granted when the British courts sought to carry out Sweden’s arrest warrant against him.