Julian Assange’s Swedish Rape Investigation Reopened, Swedish Prosecutors Say

Julian Assange’s Swedish Rape Investigation Reopened, Swedish Prosecutors Say

Julian Assange’s Swedish Rape Investigation Reopened, Swedish Prosecutors Say

In April, Assange was formally expelled from the embassy, promptly delivered into British custody and ultimately sentenced to an 50 weeks in jail on charges of skipping bail on the rape charge.

Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks website that published US Government secrets, has been wanted in Sweden on charges of rape since 2012.

The 47-year-old Assange is now in a London prison serving 50 weeks behind bars for jumping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.

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

"There is still a probable cause to suspect that Assange committed a rape", she added.

The case has become very political because Assange's supporters in the United Kingdom - mainly Labour party MPs who do not want President Donald Trump to be honoured with a state visit to the United Kingdom next month - have written to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, arguing that if the WikiLeaks founder has to be extradited, then in the #MeToo climate, it is only Sweden which should get its hands on him. "He has his hands full with, for him, much more important issues, namely avoiding being extradited to the U.S". A second sex-related allegation was dropped after the statute of limitations had been passed.

She added that while there is a risk the case may cut close to the statute of limitations deadline, "there is also a chance that we will be able to get him extradited before August 17 next year".

Assange could face up to five years in jail if found guilty, although his team is fighting his extradition and the process could take years.

"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", Persson said.

The British extradition process is not swift, and Assange could appeal several times if decisions go against him.

"In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority". Assange has denied wrongdoing, asserting that the allegations were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual.

There was no immediate reaction from Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for the woman who reported being raped by Assange.

"I'm surprised. It's embarrassing for Sweden to reopen the investigation", Per E Samuelson told Swedish TV.

A United Kingdom lawyer for Assange directed comments to his Swedish attorney.

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