Julian Assange to be grilled over rape case next month
Assange will be questioned by an Ecuadorean prosecutor and Sweden’s chief prosecutor and a police investigator will be allowed to pose their questions through him, it was confirmed on Wednesday. “After the report, the Swedish prosecutor will take a view on the continuing of the investigation,” Swedish prosecutors said in a statement.
Ecuadorean prosecutor Wilson Toainga will take the statement and would also be responsible for “the possible taking of samples of body fluids” from Assange in an attempt to end a four-year impasse since the Wikileaks founder sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape and sexual assault charges.
The 45-year-old is wanted in Sweden in relation to a 2010 rape claim, which the Australian national denies. He has fought against being extradited to Sweden, saying he fears he would then be transferred to the US to face charges on Wikileaks’ activities.
Swedish prosecutors have pushed for Assange’s extradition since 2010, when they issued a warrant for his arrest following sexual assault allegations by two female Wikileaks volunteers.
Ecuador had said last month that it would allow him to be interrogated about the allegations. In 2012, while on bail, he claimed asylum inside the Ecuadorean embassy in central London after the UK Supreme Court had ruled the extradition against him could go ahead.
A UN working group had ruled in February that Assange was being arbitrarily detained. However, the UK Foreign Office has called for the UN decision to be reviewed, saying Assange was staying in the embassy voluntarily and that the UK had a legal duty to extradite him to Sweden.