WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in Britain today on a European warrant issued by Sweden over allegations of sex crimes including rape.

Swedish prosecutors issued the arrest order for the 39-year-old Australian over the offences, which he denies.

Officers said Assange, who is at the centre of a row over the release of secret US diplomatic cables, had been arrested at about 9.30am today by appointment at a London police station under a European Arrest Warrant.

“He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010,” London police said in a statement.

He is due to appear before City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London later today.