June 4 (UPI) -- A Swedish court denied a request to detain WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a 2010 sexual assault case, authorities said.
The prosecution argued Monday in an Uppsala District Court that Assange had been uncooperative with investigators in 2010 and fled an extradition order and, therefore, should be detained and questioned in Sweden, The Local reported.
Assange's lawyer, Per E Samuelson, countered, saying that detention would be "meaningless" as Assange is already detained in Britain's Belmarsh prison where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in relation to another rape investigation involving him there.
The court sided with the defense, stating that while Assange remains a suspect, he does not need to be in Sweden for the investigation to continue.
The court's decision comes two weeks after Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson filed a request to detain Assange with aims of getting a European arrest warrant to have him extradited to Sweden.
The 2010 investigation against Assange, 47, was reopened mid-May after he was arrested in Britain when he was forced to leave Ecuador's Embassy in London. Assange had spent some seven years in the embassy seeking refuge from the sexual assault investigation.
The case against Assange had been dropped by the Swedish prosecution in 2017, but Persson reopened it after his arrest.
"I fully respect the court's decision," Persson said in a statement. "They had to take a position on a difficult assessment issue, which I considered should be examined by a court."
The investigation will continue with him in absentia, Persson said, adding that she will also issue a European Investigation Order to interview Assange.
"No date has been set yet," Persson said. "We will constantly review the state of the investigation."
Assange also faces a slew of charges, including those under the Espionage Act, in the United States for allegedly working with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to obtain and publish hundreds of thousands of pages of classified information.
Last week, however, a United Nations report said the Australian should not be extradited to the states as he shows signs of having been "psychologically tortured."
"My most urgent concern is that, in the United States, Mr. Assange would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," the U.N. Human Rights Office of the HIght Commissioner special rapporteur on torture Niles Melzer said in the report.