Britain, several nations know Assange location: lawyer

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British police and the security services of several nations know the whereabouts of Julian Assange, his lawyer said Thursday, without explicitly confirming the location of the WikiLeaks boss.

London-based lawyer Mark Stephens made the comments after British newspaper reports that Assange was believed to be in southeast England but police could not act as Sweden had filled out a European arrest warrant incorrectly.

"Scotland Yard know where he is, the security services from a number of countries know where is," Stephens told AFP.

"The (British) police are being slightly foxy in their answers, but they know exactly how to get in touch with him, as do the Swedish prosecutors."

Asked about the reports that the 39-year-old Australian was in southeast England, he said: "I have not said that. I am not saying where he is."

Swedish police said Thursday they would issue a new international arrest warrant for Assange on suspicion of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion" to replace one that could not be applied in Britain because of a procedural error.

The announcement came after Sweden's supreme court refused to hear an appeal by Assange against the warrant which relates to events in Sweden in August.

Interpol has also placed him on a wanted list.

Swedish police said earlier they were not aware of any mistakes made when filing the warrant, but added that they were talking to British police to check.

Neither Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency, which certifies extradition requests received from outside Britain, nor Scotland Yard, which acts on them, would confirm the reports.

"We do not discuss any purported communication regarding extradition cases unless a person has been placed before the City of Westminster Magistrates Court," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

Stephens said Swedish authorities had failed to provide him with the warrant or any documents about the warrant.

"The procedure is so irregular that one has to assume that the warrant is inappropriate," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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