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Swedish Appeals Court Upholds Assange Arrest Warrant

Julian Assange speaks to the media from a balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in February.

A Swedish appeals court has upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation, rejecting his request to have it lifted.

The 45-year-old Australian computer hacker has avoided extradition to Sweden by seeking shelter at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012.

The court announced in a statement on September 16 that Assange "is still detained in absentia," adding that it "shares the assessment of the [lower] district court that Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape...and that there is a risk that he will evade legal proceedings or a penalty."

His Swedish defense lawyer, Per Samuelsson, said he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Assange is wanted for questioning by Swedish police over alleged sexual offenses stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. He denies all the accusations against him made by two women.

Assange has challenged the detention order several times.

He fears that if he is extradited to Sweden he will be sent to the United States for prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of secret documents.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP