Julian Assange: Sweden to announce choice on rape case

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Assange was arrested in London final month after Ecuador abruptly withdrew its safety

Swedish prosecutors are set to announce whether or not they’re reopening an inquiry right into a rape allegation towards Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.

The investigation could also be revived on the request of the alleged sufferer’s lawyer.

Assange, who denies the costs, has prevented extradition to Sweden for seven years after looking for refuge on the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

However the 47-year-old was evicted final month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail circumstances.

The US additionally needs to extradite Assange from the UK over his alleged position within the launch of categorised army and diplomatic materials in 2010.

What occurs now?

On Monday, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, will announce her choice on whether or not to revisit the sexual assault investigation after it was dropped two years in the past.

Swedish prosecutors mentioned on the time they felt they have been unable to take the case ahead whereas Assange was contained in the Ecuadorean embassy.

Nevertheless, the girl who made the allegation now needs the case reopened, and since Assange’s arrest final month – Ecuador abruptly withdrew its safety and invited the police to arrest him – Swedish prosecutors have been contemplating their choices.

Beneath Swedish legislation, they’ve till subsequent yr to pursue the case. In the event that they do re-open the investigation, it’s more likely to elevate the query of which extradition request ought to take priority: that of Sweden or the US.

Australian-born Assange faces a cost of conspiracy to commit laptop intrusion within the US. He’s accused of taking part in one of many largest ever leaks of presidency secrets and techniques, which may lead to a jail time period of as much as 5 years.

After his dramatic arrest final month, he was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom and located responsible of a British cost of breaching bail. He’s presently being held at Belmarsh jail in London.

The United Nations has referred to as for his proper to a good trial to be revered throughout any extradition course of.

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Media captionVideo footage exhibits Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London

What’s the Swedish investigation about?

Assange was accused of rape and different sexual offences towards two girls following a Wikileaks convention in Stockholm in 2010. He has all the time denied the allegations, saying the intercourse was consensual.

He additionally confronted investigations for molestation and illegal coercion, however these instances have been dropped in 2015 as a result of time had run out.

Prosecutors have been re-examining the rape case to determine whether or not to renew it earlier than the statute of limitations expires in August 2020.

The alleged sufferer’s lawyer, Elizabeth Massi Fritz, mentioned Assange’s arrest got here as a shock however “what we have now been ready and hoping for since 2012 has now lastly occurred”.

She mentioned: “No rape sufferer ought to have to attend 9 years to see justice be served.”

How does the extradition course of work?

Lawyer Rebecca Niblock mentioned the extradition choice lies primarily with the courts and that solely a decide can determine whether or not an extradition breaches a person’s human rights.

The house secretary can take into account a restricted variety of points when deciding whether or not or to not order an extradition, together with whether or not the individual is susceptible to the loss of life penalty.

Nevertheless, if Sweden made an extradition request, Ms Niblock mentioned it will be for the house secretary to determine which request would take priority, contemplating components such because the seriousness of the offence and which request was made first.

Nick Vamos, former head of extradition on the Crown Prosecution Service, mentioned the UK proceedings shouldn’t take greater than 18 months.

Contemplating Assange’s potential objections to extradition, Mr Vamos mentioned that he didn’t suppose courts would settle for the US case was politically motivated.

However he mentioned Assange could possibly argue that his doubtless remedy within the US jail system would breach his human rights and that might not obtain a good trial on account of his notoriety and hyperlinks to political scandals.

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