LYON / STOCKHOLM: International police agency Interpol issued an order Tuesday for the arrest of WikiLeaks website founder Julian Assange in connection with a Swedish investigation of sexual assault allegations.
In a notice posted its website, Interpol listed Assange on its "red" list, or highest-priority fugitives to be held for deportation to the country where they are wanted.
The investigation follows rape allegations made by two women in August, when Assange was in Sweden for the publication of thousands of leaked Pentagon papers relating to the war in Afghanistan.
The Australian-born Assange’s whereabouts are unknown. He has denied the allegations made by the two women in Sweden.
The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks is currently the centre of international attention after it began publishing some 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables this week.
Earlier Tuesday, Assange’s lawyer in Sweden, Bjorn Hurtig, filed a petition to the Supreme Court in Stockholm seeking to have a Swedish detention order lifted.
Further, Hurtig urged the court to investigate why a Swedish prosecutor had named Assange in connection with the allegations, and said his client had been harmed by the subsequent publicity.
Last week, an appeals court upheld the detention order that had been requested by a Swedish prosecutor who claimed the move was necessary in order to interrogate Assange.
Hurtig said Assange did not leave Sweden to evade justice, and that due to time constraints Assange was willing to be questioned from a location outside Sweden via telephone or video link.(IANS)