WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been placed on Interpol’s wanted list over rape allegations made against him in Sweden.
The 39-year-old Australian’s whereabouts are unknown, but he is a frequent visitor to Britain and has held several high-profile press conferences in London this year.
Mr Assange is wanted by Swedish prosecutors on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He denies the allegations.
He is under intense scrutiny after WikiLeaks began releasing a selection of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables passed to the whistle-blowing website.
The allegations against Mr Assange surfaced in August when two women in Sweden went to police with complaints they had been sexually assaulted. The Swedish authorities issued an international warrant for his arrest last month.
Interpol, the international police co-operation agency, posted a “red notice” on its website on Tuesday stating that Mr Assange was wanted for sex crimes by the public prosecutor in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Mr Assange’s lawyer said that the decision to add him to Interpol’s most wanted list showed his client was being persecuted.
Media lawyer Mark Stephens said Mr Assange had not been provided with any information beyond what has been reported in the press about the sexual misconduct case against him in Sweden.
He said Mr Assange repeatedly sought meetings with Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. He said it was bizarre that Ms Ny sought an arrest warrant after having ignored or rejected Mr Assange’s offers of voluntary co-operation.
Earlier, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa dismissed an offer of residency that a lower level official made to Mr Assange.