Authorities in Sweden reopen rape investigation into Assange

Authorities in Sweden reopen rape investigation into Assange
© Getty Images

Swedish authorities reopened a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul Assange3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Mueller on Trump's WikiLeaks embrace: 'Problematic is an understatement' The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE on Monday, The Associated Press reported.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, told reporters that “there is still a probable cause to suspect that Assange committed a rape,” according to the news service.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required,” she added.

Prosecutors filed preliminary charges against Assange when he visited Sweden in 2010 based on complaints from two Swedish women who said they were the victims of sex crimes committed by Assange.

Persson also said Assange has yet to be formally notified of the rape accusation, according to the AP, explaining that prosecutors want to conduct a new interview with him.

Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence in a London prison for skipping bail in 2012. He had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition.

The U.S. also wants British officials to extradite him on a charge of helping then-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth ManningWaPo announces plans to increase investigative journalism staff US to question Assange friend jailed in Ecuador: report US extradition case for Assange set for next year MORE steal classified information. 

A Swedish case of alleged sexual misconduct against him was dropped in 2017 when the statute of limitations expired, but a rape allegation remains.

Assange has denied wrongdoing, saying the allegations were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per E. Samuelsen, told the AP Monday that opening the case again was "outrageous."

“He is in prison in the U.K., he faces the risk of being extradited to the United States and on top of that, to demand that he’s going to put all his energy into looking into a 10-year-old story from Sweden is just too much,” he said.