Sweden takes step toward seeking Assange extradition
© Getty Images

Swedish authorities have requested a detention order for Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeUS extradition case for Assange set for next year US extradition case for Assange set for next year UK home secretary signs US extradition request for Assange MORE, according to The Associated Press, while the WikiLeaks founder is already fighting extradition to the U.S. on separate charges.

Two Swedish women accused Assange, currently being held in Britain, of sex crimes in 2010. One case expired under the statute of limitations in 2017 but a rape allegation remains, which the Swedish government shelved for years as Assange was living in Ecuador’s embassy in London. The statute of limitations for that charge will expire in 2020.

ADVERTISEMENT

Assange was evicted last month from the embassy, where he had lived under political asylum since 2012. British police arrested him on April 11 and he is currently serving a sentence of 50 weeks for jumping bail in 2012 and also faces an extradition warrant from the U.S. on charges of conspiring with whistleblower Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth ManningUS extradition case for Assange set for next year US extradition case for Assange set for next year UK home secretary signs US extradition request for Assange MORE to hack into a Pentagon computer.

Sweden's latest move could set up a legal fight with Washington over who gets Assange first.

If convicted of the rape charge, Assange could face up to four years in prison in Sweden. A date and time for the detention hearing has not yet been set, according to prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson. “However, in my view, the Swedish case can proceed concurrently with the proceedings in the U.K.,” Persson said in a statement.

According to the detention order request, Assange allegedly “intentionally … carried out an intercourse” with an unnamed woman “by unduly exploiting that she was in a helpless state because of sleep.”