WikiLeaks' Assange arranging to meet police: lawyer

6th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange is arranging to meet with police in Britain who have a received a request from Sweden for his extradition, his British lawyer said Monday.

Swedish authorities want to quiz the elusive 39-year-old Australian -- whose whistleblower website is in the process of releasing tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables -- on suspicion of crimes including rape.

"Late this afternoon after close of business I got a call from the police, who said that they had received an extradition request from Sweden," Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens told BBC television.

"Their request is to interview Julian Assange -- he's not been charged with anything -- and we are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question and answer."

He said the meeting would take place "in the foreseeable future" but added it was not possible to say exactly when.

Stephens later told AFP the meeting was to be with British police and would take place in Britain -- although he refused to confirm widespread rumours that Assange was currently in Britain.

"The arrangements I have been making are for him [Assange] to come and meet the British police," said Stephens.

Media reports last week suggested that police in Britain could not arrest Assange because the original warrant issued in Stockholm was incomplete.

The Stockholm district court had ordered on November 18 an arrest warrant for Assange for questioning on suspicion of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion" in Sweden in August.

Swedish prosecutors issued a new international warrant on Friday. "We sent back the elements that the British police asked for," spokesman Karin Rosander told AFP.

Assange has denied the charges and Stephens said Sunday that the pursuit of his client had "political motivations", referring to WikiLeaks' recent release of US government documents.

Swedish prosecutors rejected this.

Assange broke cover on Friday to say in an online chat that he had boosted security after receiving death threats.

© 2010 AFP

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