Swedish High Court refuses WikiLeaks founder appeal

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Sweden's highest court has refused permission to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal against an arrest order issued over alleged sexual crimes, the court said Thursday.

Assange has denied the allegations, which were made earlier this year after he visited the Nordic state. His lawyer lodged an appeal against the arrest order at the High Court this week but the court has now refused to consider the case.

"The High Court has not granted a leave to appeal, so the Svea Court of Appeals ruling still stands," High Court official Kerstin Norman told Reuters.

Swedish Prosecution Office spokeswoman Helena Ekstrand said the office had not received any information as to the location of Assange. "So the situation now is that the arrest warrant still stands and we are looking for Julian Assange," she said.

WikiLeaks released secret US diplomatic cables this week, some of which are embarrassing and which show the thinking behind Washington's international relations.

It is not known where Assange is, but Britain's The Independent newspaper reported Thursday that the 39-year-old Australian was believed to be in southeast England.

The international police agency Interpol this week issued a "red notice" to assist in the arrest of Assange.

The newspaper said Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency (Soca) has so far refused to authorize this.

Citing unnamed sources, the Independent said Soca needed clarifications about the European Arrest Warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors but it described the delay as technical.

The Metropolitan Police and Soca declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

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