STOCKHOLM - Sweden's Supreme Court said Monday it had rejected an appeal by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange against his arrest warrant for alleged rape and sexual assault.
Sweden issued the arrest warrant in 2010 following allegations from two Swedish women, one who claimed rape and another who alleged sexual assault.
The Australian former hacker has been ensconced in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to the Scandinavian country.
"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," it said in a statement.
Swedish prosecutors offered in March to question Assange in London, dropping their previous demand that he come to Sweden to answer to the allegations, making a significant U-turn in the case that has been deadlocked for nearly five years.
Assange, who faces arrest if he tries to leave the Ecuadorian embassy, has always vehemently denied the allegations and insisted the sexual encounters were consensual.
He has refused to travel to Sweden because he fears the country would send him to the United States, where an investigation is ongoing into WikiLeaks' release in 2010 of 500,000 classified military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 diplomatic cables which embarrassed Washington.
Assange has agreed to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London, his lawyers said last month.