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Why is Sweden after Assange?

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Who is Julian Assange?

Mr Assange is the Queensland-born co-founder of groundbreaking whistleblower site WikiLeaks, which he launched in 2006.

The site gained international attention in 2010 due to its controversial content: U.S. military and diplomatic documents leaked by solider Chelsea Manning.

Mr Assange, 42, is a well-known public figure due to his mysterious demeanour and cloudy past; he is under investigation in the States and is wanted by Sweden.

What’s happening?

Today a Swedish court ruled to uphold an arrest warrant for the Wikileaks founder meaning he will remain on the run.

“All in all, the district court makes the assessment that the reasons for the arrest warrant offset the infringement and adverse effects the measure entails for Julian Assange,” Judge Lena Egelin said.

“He should therefore continue to be wanted for arrest in his absence.”

Why is Sweden after him?

The warrant was issued in 2010 after two Swedish female former Wikileaks employees accused Mr Assange of sexual assault.

Swedish prosecutors wish to question Mr Assange over the allegations, which he vehemently denies, claiming they are part of a wider plan to discredit him.

The assaults allegedly took place over a ten-day period Mr Assange spent in 2010, which is why the matter is being handled in Swedish courts.

Where is Assange?

Mr Assange has spent two years at Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid extradition.

Ecuador granted him political asylum in June 2012.

It is unclear how long he can remain in the protection of the embassy after reports revealed that his round-the-clock protection has cost Britain more than six million pounds.

Mr Assange also faces extradition to the United States after leaking confidential documents. 

What’s happening with his personal life?

Mr Assange has set up permanent camp in the embassy, staying in a small room with limited sunlight.

He is reportedly dating WikiLeaks researcher Sarah Harrison who is also his closest advisor.

Last month it was revealed that Mr Assange was to try his hand at a modeling career, walking the runway during the upcoming London Fashion Week in September for designer Ben Westwood.

Westwood, son of legendary British designer Vivienne, will reportedly hold his show at Mr Assange’s current residence: the Ecuadorian embassy.

Celebrity guests are expected to attend, with rumours that Mr Assange’s former lawyer and George Clooney’s fiancee, Amal Alamuddin, will make an appearance.

The designer has said he chose to feature Assange in an attempt to bring publicity to his case.

What next?

For the time being, Mr Assange looks set to remain in the embassy where he will continue working to expose what he sees as government abuses. He is concerned that stepping foot outside the embassy will lead to his arrest by British authorities.

“Being in an embassy is actually, in some ways, not in others, a national security reporter’s dream, because there’s no subpoenas to an embassy,” he told reporter Amy Goodman in July.

“That’s quite a comforting position for the publisher of WikiLeaks to work from. It’s not a position I would like to keep forever, obviously, but it does at least allow me to continue working.”

WikiLeaks continues to publish content while its founder is incarcerated. Its most recent leak was a secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex.