Rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reopened

Rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reopened

The decision comes nearly two years to the day after Sweden's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said she was unable to continue the probe after Assange took up residence in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012.

He is now in London's Belmarsh Prison serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012.

Swedish prosecutors announced Monday that they are reopening an investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Eva-Marie Persson said: "The prosecutor will shortly request that Julian Assange be detained in his absence suspected on probable cause for an allegation of rape from August 2010".

The investigation began after two women in 2010 accused Assange (who was living in London) of sexually assaulting them while in Stockholm for a WikiLeaks conference. His lawyers said he feared that should he go to Sweden, authorities could hand him over to the USA to face prosecution over the WikiLeaks case.

Following the announcement, WikiLeaks said the investigation would give Assange a chance to clear his name.

In 2015, Swedish prosecutors dropped their probe into some of the allegations - sexual molestation and unlawful coercion - because of the statue of limitations had expired, but they continued their investigation into an allegation of rape. The WikiLeaks founder has never been charged in relation to the allegations; and proceedings have never developed beyond the investigation stage.

Assange - who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing - has always maintained that he sought refuge over fears of onward extradition from Sweden to the United States for his work with WikiLeaks. The widespread media assertion that Assange "evaded" Swedish questioning is false.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Swedish authorities had twice dropped the investigation.

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.

- November 2010: Swedish police issue worldwide arrest warrant for Assange. It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange's accuser, told a news conference in Stockholm that her client is "very hopeful about getting restitution, and we both hope that justice will win". He has consistentlyprofessed his innocence.

The Australian whistleblower originally faced four sex-related charges in Sweden after an August 2010 visit to the country. One wrote that "it was the police who made up the charges" and told a friend that she felt that she had been "railroaded by police and others around her".

- July 2014: Assange loses bid to have an arrest warrant issued in Sweden against him canceled. Assange leaves Sweden for Britain Sept.27. After he left, Interpol bizarrely issued a Red Notice for Assange, usually reserved for terrorists and risky criminals - raising concerns that this was not just about sexual accusations.

She said it "signals that no one stands above the law", and that "the legal system in Sweden doesn't give a special treatment to anyone". A United Nations expert panel said in 2016 that the UK and Sweden were arbitrarily detaining Assange. In 2012 he was granted asylum by Ecuador and moved into the country's London embassy.

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