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Interpol issues arrest notice for Wikileaks' Julian Assange

'Sex crimes' cited

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Interpol has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of Julian Assange for suspected sex crimes just two days after his Wikileaks website began publishing some 250,000 highly embarrassing diplomatic cables.

The worldwide wanted poster, which claims Assange's photo wasn't available, says an arrest warrant has been issued by the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenburg, Sweden. Officials there said two weeks ago that they would seek his arrest in connection with allegations he had nonconsensual sex with two women while visiting that country in August.

Partial screenshot of Assange arrest notice

A partial screenshot of Interpol's "Red Notice" for Assange

Assange has derided what he said “appears to be highly irregular and some kind of legal circus.” His attorneys have said he has already cooperated with Swedish investigators and is willing to continue doing so. On Tuesday, they appealed to Sweden's Supreme Court to overturn an earlier ruling that he be detained for questioning.

Assange has admitted to having sex with two women in Sweden, but he has said the relations were consensual.

The Interpol bulletin, which was issued on Wednesday, came as The Washington Post reported that federal officials are investigating whether Assange committed espionage or broke other US laws in orchestrating Sunday's massive leak. The release has embarrassed numerous countries by airing frank diplomatic communications that frequently contradict official positions on international relations.

The Swedish investigation came as Assange was applying for a permit to live and work in Sweden, considered by many to be a legal haven for journalists and whistleblowers. He has also suggested seeking sanctuary in Switzerland. On Monday, Ecuador's government offered him residence in that country.

Assange is said to be hiding at a secret location somewhere outside of London, The Guardian reported. ®

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