Sweden to reopen rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Assange | News

Julian Assange is to be investigated in Sweden over a rape case dating from August 2010, prosecutors announced on Monday.

The WikiLeaks founder, currently held in Belmarsh prison in London, now faces possible extradition from Britain.

“My assessment is there is still probably cause [to investigate] rape and a lesser offence,” Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, said.

Sweden had first issued an arrest warrant and declared Assange an “internationally wanted suspect” in November 2010.

But after Assange skipped bail in the UK and went into hiding at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the extradition order was impossible to enforce.

In November 2016, Assange was interviewed by Ecuadorian prosecutors after an agreement was reached between Sweden and Ecuador to cooperate in criminal investigations.

“Mr Assange was recently sentenced to 50 weeks in prison [in the UK],” Persson said. “He will serve 25 weeks before he is eligible for release.

“My intention is to submit to the district court today to appoint a public defender. It is also my intention in the near future [to ask] that the district court order Mr Assange remanded in absentia.

“I will proceed to issue a European arrest warrant providing for him to be extradited to Sweden after serving his sentence in the UK,” she said, at a press conference in Stockholm.

The US also wants to extradite Assange over his publishing of leaked military videos showing the killing of civilians in Iraq. Persson said she expected the US to submit a formal extradition request to the UK no later than June 14, 2019. A decision on which extradition request would be given greater priority “will be left entirely to the British authorities”.

“If he’s extradited to Sweden, he must not be extradited to a third country without the consent of the British authorities,” she said.

“A future Brexit will not, according to available information, impact on the case.”

Swedish prosecutors had filed preliminary charges in 2010 after two women said they were victims of sex crimes committed by Assange when he visited the country.

Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired.

That left a rape allegation, and the case was closed as it could not be pursued while Assange was living at the embassy and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden.

The statute of limitations on that case does not expire until August 17, 2020.

“While Mr Assange is serving his sentence in the UK, I intend to further the investigation as much as possible,” Persson said. That process could include interviews via video link.

“I would like to make the following very clear: My decision to re-open the preliminary investigation is not an indication of whether to file an indictment with the court,” Persson said.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

Source

more recommended stories

  • Iranian FM visits Baghdad to discuss rising tensions with the US | Iran News

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has.

  • Should we fear for India’s democracy? | India elections 2019

    Weeks before the general elections in.

  • Citing Iran, Trump bypasses Congress to sell arms to Saudis | Saudi Arabia News

    US President Donald Trump, declaring a.

  • Indonesia’s Prabowo challenges election result in court | News

    Defeated Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

  • India elections 2019: All the latest updates | India News

    Counting of votes is under way.

  • US charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with espionage | USA News

    The US Justice Department unveiled 17.

  • What you need to know about India’s BJP | India News

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is.

  • Pentagon ‘mulls sending thousands more troops’ to Middle East | News

    The United States‘ Department of Defense.

  • US House Speaker Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a ‘cover up’ | USA News

    Democrats in the United States House.

  • Washington says attacks ‘deterred’ as US-Iran tensions rise | News

    The acting US defence secretary says.

  • New Ukrainian President Zelensky calls early parliamentary polls | Ukraine News

    Ukraine‘s new President Volodymyr Zelensky called.

  • Water supplies restored to besieged Libyan capital Tripoli | Libya News

    Water supplies to the 2.5 million.

  • Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records | Trump News

    A US judge on Monday ruled.

  • North African filmmakers pushing boundaries at Cannes 2019 | France News

    This year’s Cannes Film Festival is.

  • US says warship sails in South China Sea amid trade tensions | News

    The United States military has said.

  • Saudi Arabia ‘seeks to avert war, ready to respond with force’ | News

    Saudi Arabia wants to avert war.

  • Eurovision vs Globalvision: An artistic response | Palestine News

    Bethlehem and London – Palestinian, Israeli.

  • Presidential hopeful Joe Biden calls for unity in inaugural rally | Elections 2018 News

    Former Vice President Joe Biden has.

  • US warns airliners flying over Gulf of ‘misidentification’ | Iran News

    US diplomats warned commercial airliners flying.

  • Australian election: Voting under way in key contest | Australia News

    Melbourne, Australia – Australians are heading.

  • An Iranian building bridges in wall-obsessed America | US & Canada

    A towering artist of his generation,.

  • Taiwan parliament to vote on same-sex marriage legislation | Taiwan News

    Amid deep divisions, Taiwan‘s parliament has.

  • The Philippines’ Duterte: In pursuit of an imperial presidency | Asia

    Although President Rodrigo Duterte‘s name was.

  • Venezuela government, opposition in Norway for crucial talks | News

    Envoys from the Venezuelan government and.

  • Alibaba earnings hint at China’s ability to weather trade war | China News

    China‘s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported.

  • Iran halts some commitments under 2015 nuclear deal | News

    Iran has officially stopped some commitments.

  • PNG assesses damage from magnitude 7.5 earthquake | Papua New Guinea News

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched.

  • Palestinian campaigners call for mass boycott of Airbnb on May 15 | News

    A Palestinian campaign has called on.

  • Spyware discovered targeting phones through WhatsApp calls | News

    Spyware crafted by an “advanced cyber.

  • Senior Palestinian official says she was refused US visa | USA News

    A senior Palestinian official has said she.

  • Small lead for Australian opposition as election nears: poll | Australia News

    Australia‘s opposition Labor Party retains a.

  • Gunmen attack hotel in Pakistan’s Gwadar, kill five people | News

    Islamabad, Pakistan – Gunmen have stormed a.