, STOCKHOLM, Nov 18 – A Swedish prosecutor said on Thursday she had requested the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks, to face charges of rape and sexual molestation.
"I request the District Court of Stockholm to detain Mr. Assange in his absence, suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion," Swedish director of prosecutions Marianne Ny said in a statement in English.
"The reason for my request is that we need to interrogate him. So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogations."
The Stockholm court was set to hold a hearing on whether to order Assange\’s detention, which according to Swedish media would allow authorities to issue an international warrant for his arrest.
A warrant was first issued for Assange\’s arrest on August 20 by another prosecutor, but was later withdrawn.
Ny reopened the rape probe against the 39-year-old Australian on September 1, but did not request his detention and allowed him to leave Sweden.
Assange has said the allegations against him are part of a "smear campaign" aimed at discrediting his website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.