Assange Gets Swedish Court Date in Fight to Drop Arrest Warrant

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was given a date in a Swedish court on his appeal of the arrest warrant for an alleged sexual assault in a bid to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after two years.

The Stockholm District Court has set a hearing on July 16 for the appeal, Camilla Murray, chief administrator at the court, said by phone today.

The defense “probably thinks that he’s been remanded in absentia unreasonably long for the crimes that he’s suspected of,” she said. If the warrant is withdrawn, it “means that we won’t want him handed over to Sweden, at least not for an arrest.”

Assange, an Australian national, sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London on June 19, 2012, after exhausting options in U.K. courts to avert extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning on allegations of rape and sexual molestation.

He has said he’s innocent of the charges and last month asked Swedish prosecutors to withdraw the arrest warrant and drop the case. The prosecutor declined his request on July 1, saying that there is still “probable cause” and that it sees “significant” risk that he flees justice.

Assange is accused of failing to use a condom with one woman and having sex with another while she was asleep. The women, both supporters of WikiLeaks, let Assange stay at their homes during a speaking tour in Sweden in 2010. The U.K. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that he should return to Sweden to face the claims. He hasn’t been charged with a crime.

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