Sweden will situation a European arrest warrant and seek Assange’s extradition in the second half of the year, soon after he has served a prison term in the UK for skipping bail.
Sweden will also seek to interview Assange by video whilst he is nevertheless in jail.
The accusation against the 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder relates to an encounter involving him and a lady he met at whilst providing a speech in Stockholm in August 2010.
She accused him of possessing sex with her devoid of working with a condom as she slept.
Nonetheless Assange stated he was “entirely innocent”. In a lengthy statement he released two years ago, he stated the sex was consensual.
The UK Household Secretary will have to choose no matter if Sweden’s investigation ought to take priority more than a request from the US for Assange to be sent there to face a laptop hacking charge.
“Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019 there has been considerable political stress on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has normally been political stress surrounding this case,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief, stated in a statement on Monday. “Its reopening will give Julian a likelihood to clear his name.”
Assange was arrested in April, soon after Ecuador ended his six-year protection below political asylum at its London embassy.
He was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail circumstances and is probably to stay in jail whilst the extradition requests are fought out.
Assange was initially arrested in December 2010 soon after Sweden obtained a warrant to investigate two women’s allegations of rape and sexual assault. Following his appeals against extradition failed, Assange entered the embassy.
A single of the allegations has given that passed its statute of limitations, nevertheless the rape allegation can nevertheless be prosecuted till August subsequent year.
A prosecutor interviewed Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in November 2016. In May perhaps 2017 prosecutors discontinued their investigation saying it could not move forward devoid of Assange’s presence in Sweden.
Earlier this month the US started its push for extradition in a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London exactly where Assange declined to surrender for extradition.
Counsel for the United States government, Ben Brandon, stated Assange faced one particular charge which “relates to one particular of the biggest compromises of classified details in the history of the United States” and attracts a maximum 5-year jail sentence.
He was alleged to have conspired with army whistleblower Chelsea Manning to acquire secret files from military and diplomatic databases.
Assange is probably to fight this charge on the grounds that the constitution-assured freedom of speech in the US extends to journalists who are reporting classified details.
His lawyer Jennifer Robinson stated the case was “about a journalist and a publisher who had conversations with a supply about accessing material, encouraged that supply to supply material and spoke to that supply about how to guard their identity”.
The case is due to return to court on May perhaps 30, but can’t get underway appropriately till the US delivers extra detail of the charge and proof against him.
A complete extradition hearing would be months away.
On the weekend a Spanish newspaper reported that Ecuador had agreed to hand more than to the US all Assange’s possessions from the embassy, which includes his computer systems, for use in its investigation.
US officials are due to enter the embassy to seize the material subsequent week, El Pais reported.
Assange’s lawyers stated this was an outrageous breach of international law.
Nick Miller is Europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age