Interpol Issues ‘Red Notice’ for Arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange
The international police organization Interpol has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in connection with a sex crime investigation in Sweden.
A Red Notice is kind of international wanted poster seeking the provisional arrest of a fugitive, with an eye towards extradition to the nation that issued the underlying arrest warrant. Interpol transmits the notices to its 188 member countries, including Britain, where Assange is believed to be located. Interpol has no authority to compel a subject’s arrest. It issued 5,020 Red Notice last year for a variety of crimes.
A terse extract of Assange’s notice appeared on Interpol’s website Tuesday, without a photograph, reporting that the 39-year-old Australian is wanted for “sex crimes” by the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenburg, Sweden.
A Swedish judge on Nov. 18 ordered Assange “detained in absentia” to answer questions in a rape, coercion and molestation investigation in Stockholm. A court approved an international arrest warrant for the ex-hacker two days later, at which point Sweden reportedly applied to Interpol for the Red Notice. Assange’s lawyer appealed the detention order to the Svea Court of Appeal, but lost. Assange filed a new appeal Tuesday to the Swedish Supreme Court.
The investigation stems from separate encounters Assange had with two women during his August visit to Sweden, where he was applying for Swedish residency and attempting to secure the protection of Swedish free-press laws for his secret-spilling website. According to local news reports, the women told investigators the sexual encounters began as consensual, but turned non-consensual. One woman said Assange ignored her appeals to stop when the condom broke.
Assange has denied any wrongdoing, and hinted that the complaints are the result of a U.S. “smear campaign” targeting WikiLeaks — leading some supporters of the group to publicly investigate the two women and their families.