Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson (photo courtesy: Reuters)
Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson (photo courtesy: Reuters)

Swedish probe would give Julian Assange chance to 'clear his name', says Wikileaks Editor-in Chief

ANI | Updated: May 13, 2019 19:48 IST

London [UK], May 13 (ANI): Swedish prosecutor's decision to re-open the rape investigation against Julian Assange would give him a chance to "clear his name," said Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson on Monday.
"Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019 there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case," The Washington Post quoted Hrafnsson as saying.
"This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name," he added.
Hrafnsson alleged that he has received reports of Swedish and British authorities destroying documents related to the case. The statement, however, was not backed by any evidence, reported Russia Today.
He also slammed media reports that Assange had eluded questioning throughout his time in London. "Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so over six years," he said.
Hrafnsson's statement came shortly after a Swedish Prosecutor told media that she will re-open an investigation into the rape investigation against Julian Assange as "there is still probably cause [to investigate] rape and a lesser offence."
"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," said Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutors.
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 means that Assange now faces likely extradition from Britain.
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)