Julian Assange has lost his appeal against an arrest warrant in Sweden, where he faces rape charges, with the Court of Appeal saying there is “a great risk he will evade legal proceedings or punishment”.
The order for his arrest was issued for the Wikileaks founder in 2010, and is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women that year.
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, though in August he revealed plans to leave amid health issues.
However if he leaves, he would most likely face extradition to Sweden. Assange and his supporters argue that if that were to happen, the US could force the Swedish authorities to extradite him over the many high level secret documents exposed by Wikileaks.
Today his hopes of being granted a reprieve were dealt a blow, with his stay in the embassy counting against him.
“In the view of the Court of Appeal there is no reason to set aside the detention solely because Julian Assange is in an embassy and the detention order cannot be enforced at present for that reason,” the court said in a statement.
The court noted that Assange's stay at the embassy “shall not count in his favour since he can himself choose to bring his stay there to an end.”
“The reasons for detention still outweigh the reasons to the contrary since Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature and there is a great risk that he will evade legal proceedings or punishment if the detention order is set aside,” it added.