Julian Assange news: Swedish lawyers to look at resuming rape investigation

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A preliminary investigation against Mr Assange, 47, was dropped in 2017, however the alleged victim’s lawyer has stated “we will do everything we can” to resume the case. Mr Assange spent almost seven years in the embassy in London where he sought political asylum in 2012 when he failed in his legal battle against extradition to Sweden. In May 2017, Sweden’s top prosecutor dropped the long-running inquiry into a rape claim against Mr Assange, which he has always denied.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represents the unnamed woman, said news of Mr Assange’s arrest was “a shock to my client” and something “we have been waiting and hoping for since 2012”.

In a statement Ms Fritz said: “That what we have been waiting for and hoping for almost seven years now, of course, comes as a shock to my client.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that the prosecutors resume the Swedish preliminary investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted for rape.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Sweden have confirmed that while the investigation has not yet been officially resumed, they are looking into the case.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson said: “The investigation has not yet been resumed, and we do not know today whether it will be.

“Furthermore, we cannot set a timetable for when any such decision will be made. A preliminary investigation can be resumed as long as the suspected crime is not subject to statute of limitation.

“In this case, the suspected crime of rape would be subject to statute of limitation in mid-August 2020.”

Mr Assange has always denied the allegation.

The Wikileaks founder is also accused by the US of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents in 2010, which brought WikiLeaks to prominence.

The 47-year-old fears it would lead to him being extradited to the United States.

Meanwhile, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said the UK Government had given him a written assurance that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty.

The Wikileaks founder will next appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on May 2 by prison video-link in relation to the extradition.

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