Sweden reopens Julian Assange rape investigation
Sweden will reopen the investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Monday.
Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson revealed Sweden would resume proceedings at a press conference in the capital of Stockholm on Monday morning.
The Australian whistleblower was accused of sexual assault and rape by two women in Sweden after visiting the country in August 2010.
Following a years-long extradition battle, the UK Supreme Court ruled against him in 2012. Assange then sought asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy, saying he was fearful of rendition to the United States for his work with WikiLeaks. He would remain there for almost seven years until he was dramatically removed by British police last month. Assange has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
In August 2015, the statute of limitations on the claims of sexual assault lapsed. And two years later, Sweden shelved the probe into the rape allegation, saying there was no practical way it could be continued while he remained in the embassy. However, the country’s then Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, said that if the situation changed, the decision could be reviewed.
That moment came on April 11 when British authorities were invited into the embassy and the now 47-year-old computer programmer was dragged from his diplomatic bolthole.
On the heels of his dramatic arrest, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, a lawyer for the woman who accused Assange of rape, tweeted that she and her client would renew their calls for the WikiLeaks founder to be brought to Sweden.
Under Swedish law, any charges related to the rape allegation must be made by August 2020.