International police cooperation organizationÂ Interpol has putÂ Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowers’ websiteÂ Wikileaks, on its most-wanted list after a court inÂ Sweden announced he was wanted for alleged sex crimes. Wikileaks isÂ this week releasing more than 250,000 secret “cables” between US diplomats.
Two weeks ago, Swedish authorities ordered the arrest of Assange for suspected rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force. Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, yesterday released a “Red Notice” calling for Assange’s arrest. Interpol stated that this type of notice is not an arrest warrant, but a request “to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition.”
The incidents are alleged to have occurred in August of this year, several weeks after AssangeÂ released 75,000 documents detailing US military actions inÂ Afghanistan. “The background is that he has to be heard in this investigation and we haven’t been able to get a hold of him to question him,” said Marianne Ny, director of prosecution in Sweden.
It was first reported that he was suspected of rape later in August, when he described the allegations as part of a “smear campaign” against Wikileaks.Â Wikinews reported at the time that he said “the charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.” A statement posted on Wikileaks’ website after the charges were announced defended Assange. “We are deeply concerned about the seriousness of these allegations. We the people behind WikiLeaks think highly of Julian and he has our full support. While Julian is focusing on his defenses and clearing his name, WikiLeaks will be continuing its regular operations.”
Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, said that the allegations against him were made after the two women he is alleged to have raped found out that he was in relationships with both at the same time. “Only after the women became aware of each other’s relationships with Mr. Assange did they make their allegations against him,” Stephens said in a statement.
Stephens added that he had not “received a single written word, at any time, in any form, from Swedish authorities on the Swedish investigation against our client,” and he and Assange had only learnt about the case through reports in the media. “[This is] a clear contravention toÂ Article 6 of the European Convention, which states that every accused must be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him,” he added.