2010-11-18 The persecution of Julian Assange, continued [Update 5]

The Swedish prosecutor's office issued this morning a request for a court order to detain Julian Assange for questioning regarding the allegations made against him in August by two Swedish women. The hearing on the detention request will take place today at 2pm, Stockholm time.

Prosecutor's office statement (Swedish): http://www.aklagare.se/Media/Nyheter/Assange-begard-haktad-i-sin-franvaro/

English version: http://www.aklagare.se/In-English/

Please see our full coverage index of the Sweden case so far: http://wlcentral.org/assange-in-sweden . We recommend you start with the case chronology.

Anyone paying the slightest attention to this case will come to the same conclusions that we did: this is nothing but a dirty, underhanded smear campaign. Please read the reports linked above to see for yourself.

Those following the case will also have noticed that the Swedish prosecution authority has the uncanny ability to issue updates on the case to coincide with every significant event involving WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The fact that they decided to pick this timing to coincide with the upcoming EU-US Lisbon summit this week, where European Parliament members have announced they will raise the torture and abuse issues revealed by WikiLeaks in the Iraq War Logs, is one more in a string of highly unlikely "coincidences."

We at WL Central stand by Julian Assange and we ask you to do the same. Please spread the information we have collected and let the world know what the truth about this case really is. If you support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the time to show that support is now.

Update 1: Julian Assange's attorney, Björn Hurtig, tells SvD that he believes the request for the court order is disproportionate and that there is little evidence supporting a warrant. He called the prosecution's case "thin."

Update 2: Björn Hurtig tells VG Nett that Julian Assange has no immediate plans to return to Sweden.

Update 3: Statement by Julian Assange's counsel Mark Stephens, at 1pm: http://wlcentral.org/node/222

The reason stated by Marianne Ny for requesting the arrest warrant is that "we need to interrogate him. So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogations."

However, as those who have followed the case remember, and as Mark Stephens's statement notes, this is yet another falsehood: "Before leaving Sweden Mr. Assange asked to be interviewed by the prosecution on several occasions in relation to the allegations, staying over a month in Stockholm, at considerable expense and despite many engagements elsewhere, in order to clear his name. Eventually the prosecution told his Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig that he was free to leave the country, without interview, which he did."

Update 4: WikiLeaks issued a staff editorial under the title "Why our editor-in-chief is busy and needs to be defended", a Letter from Swedish Counsel Bjorn Hurtig to English co-Counsel for Julian Assange and a Press Release by Counsel for Julian Assange.

Update 5: SvD and Expressen confirm that an international arrest warrant will be issued by the Stockholm District Court. The Swedish prosecutor's office has also updated its statment: English, Swedish. Prosecutor Marianne Ny can be reached at +46 31-739-41-04.

From the prosecutor's office statement: "Due to the ongoing investigation and the parties involved, the prosecutor cannot at the moment give more information concerning the suspicions or which investigation matters have been conducted." So then on what basis, exactly, is an arrest warrant being issued?

Breaking news coverage:

SvD: Julian Assange begärs häktad
Aftonbladet: Julian Assange begärs häktad
SVT: WikiLeaks grundare begärs häktad
VG Nett: Vil etterlyse WikiLeaks-gründer internasjonalt
Helsingborgs Dagblad: Julian Assange begärs häktad
The Guardian: WikiLeaks founder faces Swedish detention
ABC News (Australia): Arrest ordered for WikiLeaks founder
SvD: Julian Assange kommer att efterlysas
Expressen: Assange häktad i sin utevaro
Deutsche Welle: Swedish court orders arrest of WikiLeaks founder
ORF: Staatsanwältin will Vernehmung
Nouvel Observateur: La justice suédoise va lancer un mandat d'arrêt international contre le fondateur de WikiLeaks

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