Sweden to issue new warrant for WikiLeaks head

Sweden to issue new warrant for WikiLeaks head

Stockholm: Swedish police said Thursday that they would issue a new international arrest warrant for Julian Assange to replace one that could not be enforced in Britain because of a procedural error.

“We have to refresh the warrant. It’s a procedural fault, we agree. The prosecutor Marianne Ny has to write a new one," Tommy Kangasvieri of the Swedish National Criminal Police told AFP.

“The procedure demands that the maximum penalty for all crimes Assange is suspected for is written" in the warrant, he explained. “We described it only for the rape."

Kangasvieri could not say how long it would take Swedish police to issue the new warrant.

Britain’s Times newspaper reported Thursday that British police knew where the Internet whistleblower was - believed to be a location in southeast England - but could not act on the information as the European arrest warrant was incorrectly filled out.

The global police agency Interpol said Wednesday it had alerted member states to arrest WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape on the basis of a Swedish arrest warrant.

“There is a public ‘Red Notice’ on behalf of Sweden," a spokeswoman told AFP, confirming that Interpol had posted Sweden’s request for assistance in tracking down the 39-year-old Australian on its website.

The Stockholm district court had ordered on 18 November an arrest warrant for Assange for questioning on suspicion of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion" in Sweden in August.

The court order authorized Ny, who had requested Assange’s detention, to prepare an international arrest warrant for the famous hacker, who travels constantly.

Separately Sweden’s Supreme Court said Thursday it had refused to hear Assange’s appeal to overturn the district court ruling, which was his last possible chance to bloc the warrant.

Assange’s lawyer had taken the case to Sweden’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, after a first petition was rejected by the Stockholm Appeals court in November.

Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks started publishing some 250,000 US embassy cables on Sunday, which has infuriated Washington and embarrassed many governments worldwide.