A Swedish appeals court has upheld the detention order on Julian Assange, dismissing a challenge by the WikiLeaks founder who is wanted by Swedish prosecutors in an investigation of alleged sex crimes.

The Svea appeals court on Thursday upheld a decision by a lower court saying there is no reason to lift the detention order just because it cannot be enforced at the moment.

Assange has avoided being extradited to Sweden by taking shelter in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Assange has not been formally indicted in Sweden, but he is wanted for questioning by police over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women he met during a visit to the Scandinavian country in 2010. He denies the allegations.