Sweden to reopen 2010 case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Sweden to reopen 2010 case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Sweden to reopen 2010 case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Swedish authorities have had to shelf it because Assange was living at the embassy at the time and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden. "There is still probable cause to suspect that Mr Assange committed rape", the deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, told reporters.

Swedish prosecutors had idled their case while Assange was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Who will get to extradite Jullian Assange first - Sweden, which on Monday revived a rape charge against the 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder, or the USA, which wants him for hacking into military computers?

The British courts will have to rule on the two extradition requests, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid having the final say on which one takes precedence.

The US has called for his right to a fair trial to be respected during any extradition process.

Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in a United Kingdom jail for skipping bail, and any extradition would only take place once that ends. It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue.

Under Swedish law, they have until next year to pursue the case.

"Everything depends on how this will be handled by the British authorities and courts", said Mark Klamberg, a professor of worldwide law at Stockholm University. "I take the view that there exists the possibility to take the case forward". Its statute of limitations will expire in 2020.

A lawyer representing the victim in the rape investigation urged Swedish prosecutors to move quickly.

But 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".

"My client feels great gratitude and she is very hopeful of getting restitution and we both hope that justice will win".

"I do not understand the Swedish prosecutor's. reasoning for reopening a 10-year old case", he said.

Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said reopening the case "will give Julian a chance to clear his name".

If convicted in Sweden, Assange could face a prison sentence of up to four years.

A United Kingdom lawyer for Assange directed comments to his Swedish attorney.

That pressure, WikiLeaks says, came from the USA, which has charged Assange with helping former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning crack a password on Department of Defense computers that allowed access to a network of classified documents and communications.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing United States military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries.

It also published a classified US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

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