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Swedish court rejects Assange's appeal against arrest

Swedish court rejects Assanges appeal against arrest

Stockholm: Sweden's Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to overturn the arrest warrant against him for allegations of sexual assault in the country.

This is the latest twist in Assange's long legal battle to have his European arrest warrant overturned, after Sweden's Supreme Court formally agreed at the end of last month to hear his appeal, The Local news portal reported.

But on Monday, judges agreed to reject the bid, which was first issued in 2010 following allegations from two women in Stockholm -- one claimed rape and the other alleged sexual assault. Assange, 43, denies the accusations.

The court stated that although it considered the fact that the arrest warrant had been in place for a "very long time", it took the view that progress was being made in the case after Swedish prosecutors agreed to travel to London to question Assange.

"The Supreme Court notes that investigators have begun efforts to question Julian Assange in London. The Supreme Court finds no reason to lift the arrest warrant," an official court statement said.

The news comes as Swedish prosecutors are set to meet the Australian at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has seeking asylum for over two years.

Assange has refused to return to Sweden to contest the allegations, fearing that Stockholm would extradite him to the US to be tried for his role in Wikileaks' publication of classified US diplomatic, military and intelligence documents.

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