Swedish court to hear Wikileaks founder Assange arrest appeal

Swedish court to hear Wikileaks founder Assange arrest appeal
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Aug 18, 2014. Sweden's Supreme Court said Tuesday it will hear an appeal by the Wikileaks founder against his arrest warrant for alleged rape and sexual assault.

STOCKHOLM - Sweden's Supreme Court said Tuesday it will hear an appeal by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange against his arrest warrant for alleged rape and sexual assault.

"The Supreme Court grants leave to appeal," the court wrote in a statement, without specifying a date.

Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 following allegations from two women there, 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 Sweden.

Assange, who faces arrest if he tries to leave the embassy, has always vehemently denied the allegations and insisted the sexual encounters were consensual.

The motion was taken to the Supreme Court after a lower Swedish court rejected an appeal in November.

Assange 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.

Swedish prosecutors offered in March to question Assange in London, dropping their previous demand that he come to Sweden to answer to the 2010 allegations, making a significant U-turn in the case that has been deadlocked for nearly five years.

Assange's lawyer said earlier this month that an confirmation letter of agreement had been sent to prosecutors.

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