WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (file photo)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (file photo)

Sweden to re-open rape investigation against Julian Assange

ANI | Updated: May 13, 2019 17:09 IST

Stockholm [Sweden], May 13 (ANI): Sweden will re-open an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, prosecutors said on Monday.
47-year old Assange was arrested last month from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden.
Today's announcement by Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutors, Eva-Marie Persson, means that Assange now faces likely extradition from Britain, reported Al Jazeera.
"My assessment is there is still probably cause [to investigate] rape and a lesser offence," Persson told media here.
"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," she added.
The Australian whistleblower has denied the allegations against him, asserting that they were politically motivated.
It should be recalled here that the United States, too, has requested the extradition of Assange, and has charged him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion which carries a maximum penalty of five years.
"The US will submit a formal extradition request to the UK no later than 14 June 2019," Persson said.
"This decision [as to which extradition request would be given preference] will be left entirely to the British authorities," she added. "If he's extradited to Sweden, he must not be extradited to a third country without the consent of the British authorities.
Assange was accused of scheming with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.

Manning served seven years of a 35-year prison term for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks before former US President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017. She was jailed again in March after refusing to give evidence to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. (ANI)