The international police organization Interpol has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in connection with a sex crime investigation in Sweden. A Red Notice is a kind of international wanted poster seeking the provisional arrest of a fugitive, with an eye towards extradition to the nation that issued the underlying arrest warrant. Interpol transmits the notices to its 188 member countries, including Britain, where Assange is believed to be located. Interpol has no authority to compel a subject’s arrest. It issued 5,020 Red Notices last year for a variety of crimes.
A Swedish prosecutor’s office said almost two weeks ago that a court in Stockholm had approved its request for the arrest of Mr. Assange to face questioning on charges that Mr. Assange has strongly denied. Marianne Ny, director of the Stockholm prosecutor’s office, said in a statement at the time that she had moved to have Mr. Assange extradited to Sweden on suspicion of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.” If Assange is arrested in London and extradited to Sweden, the United States (the Obama Justice Department), will have a chance to extradite him to the United States at a later date to face charges of espionage if they so choose. Many observers are beginning to criticize the Obama administration for not acting faster.