Sweden has decided to reopen the case dealing with a rape allegation against Julian Assange. The victim’s lawyer requested to resume the investigation after Assange’s removal from the asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, which was the initial reason for dropping the investigation in 2017. Yet, as Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson said, there is still “probable cause to suspect” the incident has occurred. Assange denies the accusation.
The 47-year-old Assange has recently been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaking bail conditions of his placement at the Ecuadorian embassy. Accordingly, after the seven-year diplomatic stalemate, the completion of the investigation over sexual assault allegation becomes possible. Although Assange has not had the chance to comment on the situation, Wikileaks take a positive stance towards the situation, hoping to clear the founder’s name. “Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so over six years. The widespread media assertion that Assange ‘evaded’ Swedish questioning is false,” said Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief.
Assange now faces two extradition requests. The first one, requested by the US for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion is, however, deemed to be less important because rape is considered to be a more serious crime. Swedish prosecutors, therefore, prepare to interview Assange via video link for he is currently being held in Belmarsh prison in London.