World Media

Sweden to reopen preliminary investigation into Julian Assange rape allegation

Julian Assange

He has refuted the allegations and asserted that they were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual.

- May 13, 2019: Swedish authorities reopen investigation of rape allegation against Assange and say they will seek his extradition.

The investigation was requested by lawyers for a Swedish woman who alleges Assange raped her in 2010.

He took refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.

A lawyer representing one of the women called the prosecutor's decision to reopen the case "very gratifying" on Monday, and said she and her clients hoped justice could be served, noting that prosecutors would need to move quickly in light of statute of limitations expiring next year.

Earlier this month, Assange was jailed for 50 weeks for breaching his bail after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London while he was wanted over allegations of sexual offences.

"On account of Julian Assange leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, the circumstances in this case have changed".

"I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the United Kingdom and that he could be extradited to the US", Ms Persson said.

Assange's supporters cast him as a dissident facing the wrath of a superpower over one of the largest compromises of classified information in US history.

"The outcome of this process is impossible to predict".

"However, in my view the Swedish case can proceed concurrently with the proceedings in the UK".

The prosecutor said Sweden would file for extradition if the courts found grounds to detain him.

The prosecutor said she would file a European arrest warrant to extradite Assange to Sweden after he has served jail time in the United Kingdom, but that the decision on extradition would be up to the United Kingdom authorities.

A new interview with Mr Assange will be held to determine this.

Swedish state prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson announced Monday that she plans to reopen a preliminary investigation into rape allegations against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

"Recall that it was initially dropped in 2010 when a prosecutor concluded that "no crime at all" had occurred", he added.

The statute of limitations on that case doesn't expire until 17 August 2020.

The United States is also seeking his extradition on charges relating to the public release by Wikileaks of a huge cache of secret documents.

The rape investigation was reopened at the request of the alleged victim.

WikiLeaks issued a statement in response to the case being resumed, saying Sweden is reopening the investigation after facing "considerable political pressure" in the wake of Assange being forced out of Ecuador's embassy.