The lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was negotiating with British police on Monday to discuss the arrest warrant Sweden has issued for the man who unleashed a tidal wave of secret documents on the Internet.
Lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters in London that the Metropolitan Police had called him to say they had received the warrant from Sweden for Assange, who has been staying at an undisclosed location in Britain.
“We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with police by consent in order to ... answer that’s needed,” Stephens said, declining to say when Assange’s interview with police would take place.
The 39-year-old Australian is accused of rape and sexual molestation in one Swedish case and of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion in another.
Assange denies the allegations, which Stephens has said stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex.” Stephens said Sunday that the Swedish investigation -- which has involved prosecutors overruling each other and disputes over whether the most serious allegation constitutes rape -- had turned into a “political stunt.”
Scotland Yard would still have to seek a warrant at Westminster and City Magistrates’ Court, which handles extradition, before Assange is detained.
Australia said it would give consular help to Assange if he is arrested abroad and noted he is entitled to return home as well. But Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland also condemned the document leaks as harming security and said Australia is obligated to help the criminal investigation into Assange’s activities.