Julian Assange to be investigated over rape allegation after case reopened

Kristinn Hrafnsson Editor-in-chief of Wiki Leaks and barrister Jennifer Robinson centre address the media at Westminster Magistrate Court in London Thursday

The statute of limitations in that case expires in August next year.

A lawyer representing the Swedish victim in a rape investigation involving WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange has urged Swedish prosecutors to move quickly with their inquiries, with a statute of limitations looming next year.

Persson said Sweden will issue an arrest warrant and request that Assange be brought to Sweden for a trial after he completes his sentence in the United Kingdom. Sweden dropped the investigation six months later, in May 2017.

The alleged victim's lawyer, Elizabeth Massi Fritz, said Assange's arrest came as a shock but "what we have been waiting and hoping for since 2012 has now finally happened".

Sweden is reopening the rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, prosecutors announced today.

The 47-year-old Australian - who denies the allegations - is now in a London prison serving 50 weeks behind bars for jumping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.

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A United Kingdom court ordered Assange should face extradition to face these charges, before he sought political asylum in the embassy.

Since the USA has already kicked off the extradition process on the conspiracy charge, British officials "will decide on the order of priority", according to the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

Sweden will seek to have Julian Assange extradited from the United Kingdom, a chief prosecutor said on Monday.

The Swedish government is looking at reopening the sexual assault case against Assange, a head prosecutor told reporters, according to the AP. He noted that the case in Sweden is now still not the defence's key priority.

"How that will happen now, I don't know. He has his hands full with, for him, much more important issues, namely avoiding being extradited to the US", he said.

Assange is facing a court hearing over a US request to extradite him for alleged computer hacking.

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The case was opened following complaints from two Swedish women who alleged they were the victims of sex crimes committed by Assange. However, Hrafnsson slammed the political aspect, which, as he states, has always been associated with the criminal case.

The investigation will give Mr Assange a chance to clear his name, WikiLeaks said.

"Then Sweden wanted to drop its arrest warrant for Assange as early as 2013". In her assessment, she said, "a new questioning of Assange is required". She added that her client, who has remained anonymous since 2010, "feels great gratitude" towards Sweden for reopening the case.

The lawyer also called on the prosecution to make haste, as the statute of limitations deadline is approaching and it could take time to have Assange extradited to Sweden.

Stockholm had first issued a European warrant on Assange in 2010 after the two women accused him of sexual molestation and assault, and British police arrested him. After he left, Interpol bizarrely issued a Red Notice for Assange, usually reserved for terrorists and unsafe criminals - raising concerns that this was not just about sexual accusations.

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