Ecuador to allow questioning of Assange in London embassy

Sweden on Thursday welcomed a decision to allow Swedish prosecutors to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, a spokeswoman said.

"This means that the investigation can move ahead," Karin Rosander of the Swedish Prosecution Authority said.

Swedish prosecutors want to interview Assange in relation to a suspected rape in 2010, an allegation he denies.

A date for the proceedings would be established "in the coming weeks," the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador said.

The Australian national has been holed up in the embassy since 2012. He fled there after he lost a legal battle in Britain against extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador then granted Assange asylum after he said he feared extradition to the United States, where he is wanted in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of secret diplomatic cables.

Last year, Sweden and Ecuador adopted a legal pact to offer "legal assistance" in criminal cases.

Three other cases of alleged sexual assault against Assange were dropped a year ago due to a Swedish statute of limitations.

Assange has meanwhile appealed a May decision by the Stockholm District Court upholding the arrest warrant issued against him.

His defence team argue the prosecution was not acting in a timely manner, and that the long period in the embassy has affected Assange's health.

Assange and Ecuador have also cited an opinion from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a panel of independent legal scholars, stating Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention since his arrest in London in 2010.

Britain and Sweden have dismissed the findings. 

Last update: Thu, 11/08/2016 - 10:04

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