Julian Assange: Sweden to announce determination on rape case

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on 11 April 2019Picture copyright
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Assange was arrested in London final month after Ecuador abruptly withdrew its safety

Swedish prosecutors are set to announce whether or not they’re reopening an inquiry right into a rape allegation towards Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.

The investigation could also be revived on the request of the alleged sufferer’s lawyer.

Assange, who denies the costs, has averted extradition to Sweden for seven years after looking for refuge on the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

However the 47-year-old was evicted final month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail situations.

The US additionally desires to extradite Assange from the UK over his alleged function within the launch of labeled army and diplomatic materials in 2010.

What occurs now?

On Monday, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, will announce her determination on whether or not to revisit the sexual assault investigation after it was dropped two years in the past.

Swedish prosecutors stated on the time they felt they have been unable to take the case ahead whereas Assange was contained in the Ecuadorean embassy.

Nonetheless, the girl who made the allegation now desires the case reopened, and since Assange’s arrest final month – Ecuador abruptly withdrew its safety and invited the police to arrest him – Swedish prosecutors have been contemplating their choices.

Beneath Swedish legislation, they’ve till subsequent 12 months to pursue the case. In the event that they do re-open the investigation, it’s prone to elevate the query of which extradition request ought to take priority: that of Sweden or the US.

Australian-born Assange faces a cost of conspiracy to commit pc intrusion within the US. He’s accused of collaborating in one of many largest ever leaks of presidency secrets and techniques, which may end in a jail time period of as much as 5 years.

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Media captionWho’s Julian Assange?

After his dramatic arrest final month, he was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom and located responsible of a British cost of breaching bail. He’s presently being held at Belmarsh jail in London.

The United Nations has known as for his proper to a good trial to be revered throughout any extradition course of.

What’s the Swedish investigation about?

Assange was accused of rape and different sexual offences towards two girls following a Wikileaks convention in Stockholm in 2010. He has all the time denied the allegations, saying the intercourse was consensual.

He additionally confronted investigations for molestation and illegal coercion, however these instances have been dropped in 2015 as a result of time had run out.

Prosecutors have been re-examining the rape case to resolve whether or not to renew it earlier than the statute of limitations expires in August 2020.

The alleged sufferer’s lawyer, Elizabeth Massi Fritz, stated Assange’s arrest got here as a shock however “what we now have been ready and hoping for since 2012 has now lastly occurred”.

She stated: “No rape sufferer ought to have to attend 9 years to see justice be served.”

How does the extradition course of work?

Lawyer Rebecca Niblock stated the extradition determination lies primarily with the courts and that solely a decide can resolve whether or not an extradition breaches a person’s human rights.

The house secretary can think about a restricted variety of points when deciding whether or not or to not order an extradition, together with whether or not the particular person is vulnerable to the dying penalty.

Nonetheless, if Sweden made an extradition request, Ms Niblock stated it might be for the house secretary to resolve which request would take priority, contemplating elements such because the seriousness of the offence and which request was made first.

Nick Vamos, former head of extradition on the Crown Prosecution Service, stated the UK proceedings shouldn’t take greater than 18 months.

Contemplating Assange’s potential objections to extradition, Mr Vamos stated that he didn’t assume courts would settle for the US case was politically motivated.

However he stated Assange might be able to argue that his doubtless therapy within the US jail system would breach his human rights and that would not obtain a good trial attributable to his notoriety and hyperlinks to political scandals.

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