News World Assange case opens in Sweden

Assange case opens in Sweden

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A Swedish court has begun hearing arguments on whether an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be repealed.

Prosecutors in the Stockholm District Court told judge Lena Egelin that the warrant issued in November 2010 should remain in place.

The warrant was issued after a Swedish prosecutor said he needed to question Assange in a case of alleged sexual assault against two women in August of that same year.

Julian Assange. Photo: Getty

The 43-year-old Australian denies the allegations, and his lawyers are requesting the warrant be immediately dropped.

After the two sides had stated their positions, the judge ruled that the prosecution be allowed to present details concerning the alleged assaults behind closed doors and cleared the court room.

The defence did not oppose that move.

After the closed-door session, the court was to hear the defence arguments.

Assange has spent the past two years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He took refuge there and was granted political asylum by Ecuador after Sweden attempted to extradite him to face questioning over the alleged sexual assault.

Assange says he fears Sweden will extradite him to the United States, where he could be prosecuted for the leaking of classified government documents.

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