Sweden to announce decision on Julian Assange rape case

Sweden to announce decision on Julian Assange rape case

Assange is now serving 50 weeks imprisonment sentence in UK's Belmarsh prison and the USA is seeking his extradition on charges of conspiracy to hack into a classified government computer.

Sweden's state prosecutor said on Monday (May 13) she would reopen a rape investigation involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that circumstances now existed to seek his extradition from Britain. The original rape probe related to the allegations of two women, one of whom said Assange failed to use a condom while another said he had sex with her while she was asleep.

The intervention will likely complicate the USA government's attempt to extradite the 47-year-old Australian from Britain to face charges that he helped hack into military computers.

He added that "Sweden wanted to drop its arrest warrant for Assange as early as 2013".

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain May 19, 2017. Its statute of limitations will expire in 2020.

"His attitude is that he is happy to cooperate with Sweden and that he wants to be interviewed and that he wants to clear his name", Per Samuelson, a Swedish lawyer for Assange, told Reuters.

Others fear that since Assange has embarrassed the Americans by revealing its military secrets - USA air crew laughing as they kill a dozen Iraqis, for example - Trump is determined to get him and will find it easier to do so once he is Sweden. He fought the extradition up to the UK Supreme Court, where he lost in 2012.

Persson said it was "impossible to predict" how the extradition process would unfold.

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

The 47-year-old Australian met the women in connection with a lecture in August 2010 in Stockholm. The other was in the audience.

Neither of the alleged victims has been named publicly. In Assange's case, the action has been brought by the U.S. government, which if successful could consign him to possibly a life time in prison or even a death sentence. It's expected it would take a year or longer for him to be sent to the United States or possibly to Sweden even if he ultimately loses in court.

"Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case", Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief, said in a statement.

Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.

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