Sweden under fire for Assange case

Sweden under fire for Assange case

Ecuador has voiced concern about the “serious lack of progress” by Sweden in its moves to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Swedish authorities were sent a letter saying there has been a “serious failure” by its prosecutor, including a “lack of initiative” to push the case forward. The Quito government said there was “great concern” that six months after first being interviewed, Stockholm’s prosecutor had issued no declaration on the procedural situation.

The Australian tech pioneer has been sheltered at the tiny Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost five years and has been granted political asylum.

Earlier this month Assange’s lawyer filed a request at Stockholm District Court asking for an end to the arrest warrant against his client in Sweden, arguing it should be dropped after the US openly declared its intent to jail him. US attorney general Jeff Sessions says Assange’s arrest is “a priority”.

Britain’s police say they will arrest him if he leaves diplomatic protection.

He was questioned six months ago by Swedish investigators on charges of sexual assault, which he has always denied.

The assault accusations, which Assange denies, relate to a visit he made to Stockholm to give a lecture in 2010. He is accused of raping a woman, named only as SW, at her home in August 2010 but Assange says the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated. Assange faces extradition to the US for questioning over WikiLeaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files about the Iraq (pictured) and Afghan wars if he leaves the diplomatic sanctuary.

Part of the Swedish investigations were dropped in 2015 because of Sweden’s statute of limitations.

The letter said Assange’s position had changed since the election of Donald Trump and a speech by CIA director Mike Pompeo describing WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service”.

Assange now faced an “obvious risk”, the letter from the Quito government said.

It said Assange was under international protection inside the embassy.

It repeated its request for guarantees of non-extradition to any third country, presumably in reference to the US.

Picture credit: Wikimedia

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