Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Sweden reopens rape probe against Assange

Sweden reopens rape probe against Assange

Swedish prosecutors are set to announce whether they are reopening an inquiry into a rape allegation against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.

The lawyer for the complainant tweeted in the weeks before Assange's arrest: "The statue of limitations for the rape allegation against Assange expire in August 2020".

Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, is now being held in Belmarsh prison serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012.

After nearly seven years holed up in the building he was arrested by British police April 11 after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, accusing him of everything from meddling in the nation's foreign affairs to poor hygiene.

He is now in London's Belmarsh Prison serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012.

Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired. He has always denied the allegations, saying the sex was consensual.

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Neither of the alleged victims has been named publicly.

Lawyer Rebecca Niblock, who specialises in extradition cases, said decisions lie primarily with the courts and that only a judge can decide whether an extradition breaches an individual's human rights.

Persson said today in a statement: "I take the view that there exists the possibility to take the case forward".

The home secretary can consider a limited number of issues when deciding whether or not to order an extradition, including whether the person is at risk of the death penalty.

Nick Vamos, lawyer at London-based firm Peters & Peters and former head of extradition at Britain's Crown Prosecution Service, told Reuters before Monday's decision that he expected a Swedish request would take supremacy.

A United Kingdom court ordered Assange should face extradition to face these charges, before he sought political asylum in the embassy. His lawyers said he feared that should he go to Sweden, authorities could hand him over to the U.S. to face prosecution over the WikiLeaks case.

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