WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing a rape charge in Sweden. File picture: Matt Dunham/AP

Stockholm - A Swedish court is set to hear on June 3 a prosecutor's request that WikliLeaks founder Julian Assange be detained in absentia on suspicion of rape, the first step in his possible extradition to Sweden.

The Uppsala district court issued the decision Tuesday after deputy chief prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson and Assange's Swedish defence attorney, Per E Samuelsson, had proposed conflicting dates.

Persson had requested that the hearing take place already Wednesday, according to documents filed with the court.

Samuelson, however, said he needed time to consult with Assange who is serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail.

Persson announced last week that Sweden was to re-open a preliminary rape investigation into Assange that was dropped in 2017.

A request to re-open the probe was made April 11 by an attorney who represents a woman who alleges that she was raped by Assange during a 2010 visit to Sweden. Assange has denied the allegation.

dpa