Stockholm, May 20: Swedish prosecutors on Monday filed a request to detain Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in absentia over rape case investigation. If the warrant is granted it would be the first stage in a process to extradite the whistleblower from the United Kingdom, Sputnik reports.
"I have requested the district court to arrest Assange in absentia on suspicions of rape. If the court rules to arrest him, I will issue a European arrest warrant that will imply his extradition to Sweden," Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement issued by the Swedish Prosecution Authority. Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder, Arrested at Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
On May 13, Person said that prosecutors would reopen a preliminary investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Assange, who is currently detained in the UK. On 11 April, Ecuador revoked Assange's asylum status and invited the British police to arrest him. A London court then sentenced him to 50 weeks in prison on May 1 for breaching his bail conditions in 2012, when he sought refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Sweden charged rape allegations against Assange back in 2010, after which the Wikileaks founder decided to seek political asylum to avoid being extradited. The rape case against Assange was opened in 2010 after allegations made by two women, but was dropped seven years later because Assange had sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Some of the charges were dropped in 2015 due to the statute of limitations on them expiring.
The case was dropped once again by Swedish prosecutors in 2017. However, following Assange's arrest in 2019, Sweden once again raised the issue of the unresolved rape case. It should be recalled here that the United States, too, has requested the extradition of Assange, and has charged him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion which carries a maximum penalty of five years.