Assange arrest is issue for Sweden, Britain: US

7th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States said Tuesday that the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is an issue between Britain and Sweden, as Washington pursues its own investigation.

Assange turned himself into the British authorities on Tuesday and was refused bail after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest on rape charges.

"Our investigation is ongoing. As for his arrest, it is, at this point, an issue between Britain and Sweden," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

"I cannot say that the United States has been drawn into this issue this morning. This is an issue where British authorities have arrested him based on a warrant for his extradition from Sweden," Crowley said.

"What we're investigating is a crime under US law. The provision of 250,000 classified documents from someone in the government to someone outside the government is a crime," Crowley said.

"We're investigating and we will hold those responsible accountable. That investigation is still ongoing," he added.

Assange, 39, said he would fight an extradition request by Swedish authorities as he appeared in court in London just hours after he emerged from a month in hiding and surrendered to police.

In London, Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens told BBC television on Sunday that he feared the hunt for the WikiLeaks founder had "political motivations," but the Swedish prosecutor handling the rape allegations dismissed the suggestion.

© 2010 AFP

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