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Swedish High Court Upholds Arrest Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder

VOA News
02 December 2010

The Swedish Supreme Court has upheld an arrest warrant for the founder of the WikiLeaks website, wanted for questioning regarding allegations of rape.

In a ruling Thursday, the Swedish high court denied an appeal by 39-year-old Julian Assange, saying it granted such appeals only in exceptional cases that call for the court's review.

An international arrest warrant had been issued in August by Swedish prosecutors against the WikiLeaks chief, who is accused of two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion in Sweden.

WikiLeaks has been releasing thousands of classified documents this week.

The latest U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by the website indicate the U.S. views Russia as a corrupt, virtual "mafia state." A secret memo that apparently originated from the U.S. embassy in Moscow paints a picture of a nation that is fraught with corruption at every level of its government, including bribery, extortion and espionage. The cable refers to Moscow as a "kleptocracy" with the Kremlin and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the center.

Responding to the leaked cables, Mr. Putin told CNN the U.S. should not interfere in Russia's internal affairs.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the leak of State Department documents "will not in any way" interfere with American diplomacy.

Despite Clinton's optimism, Undersecretary of State William Burns said in Washington the release of the classified papers by WikiLeaks has "substantially hurt" U.S. diplomatic efforts. Burns told a U.S. congressional committee the WikiLeaks disclosures are a "despicable breach of trust."

Also Wednesday, Amazon.com prevented WikiLeaks from using the U.S. company's computer servers to distribute documents.

The company's move to kick WikiLeaks off its servers came following pressure from U.S. lawmakers. U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman praised Amazon's decision and called for other companies hosting WikiLeaks to terminate relationships with the website.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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