A Swedish prosecutor requested a court order today to detain WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for questioning on suspicion of rape.
Assange has denied the allegations, which follow meetings with two women during a visit to Sweden in August.
He is also suspected of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.
The Stockholm District Court was to rule on the request later today. The move could mean that prosecutors are preparing an international arrest warrant for the Australian, whose whereabouts were not immediately clear.
“The reason for my request is that we need to interrogate him,” Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny said in a statement. “So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogation.”
WikiLeaks has angered the Pentagon by releasing thousands of classified US war reports from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Assange had considered setting up a base for WikiLeaks in Sweden, where some of its servers are located, but Swedish immigration authorities denied him a residence permit.
Investigators have released few details about the allegations against Assange, though a police report shows that both women had met him in connection with a seminar he gave in Stockholm on August 14.
The women filed their complaints together six days later.
Assange complained that he and his group were being targeted and persecuted by intelligence agencies from the United States and elsewhere who are angry over the leaks of secret military documents.