WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Julian Assange has long maintained that a sex allegation against him was a ploy to get him extradited to the US for interrogation over his activities related to WikiLeaks if he goes to Sweden Getty Images

A Swedish court has upheld an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is wanted for questioning about an alleged rape in 2010.

Assange, who denies the accusation, had requested for the warrant to be quashed.

The court said Assange "is still detained in absentia", and it "shares the assessment of the [lower] district court that Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape … and that there is a risk that he will evade legal proceedings or a penalty," AFP reported.

The 45-year-old sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, after exhausting his legal options to resist extradition for questioning in Sweden. He claims the charges are politically motivated, and that Sweden could extradite him to the US, where he is wanted by authorities for the 2011 WikiLeaks release of half-a-million secret diplomatic cables.

Assange filed the request after a UN panel said in February that Assange's situation in the Ecuadorian embassy amounted to arbitrary detention.

The panel found that Assange should be free to leave the embassy without being arrested, and compensated for the six years he has been staying there.

Per Samuelson, a Swedish lawyer representing Assange, told Reuters he had not yet talked to his client.

"I assume we will appeal, it would be strange if we did not," he stated.