Get in line, USA: Sweden reopens Assange rape case

Kristinn Hrafnsson Editor-in-chief of Wiki Leaks and barrister Jennifer Robinson centre address the media at Westminster Magistrate Court in London Thursday

Swedish prosecutors have announced they are reopening an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange.

"I have today taken the decision to reopen the preliminary investigation" she said at a news conference.

"There has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case", Hrafnsson said in a statement Monday morning, following the announcement by Swedish authorities that the investigation against Julian Assange had been officially reopened. That left a rape allegation, but officials couldn't pursue it because Assange was living at the embassy and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden. The statute of limitations on that case expires in August 2020.

After Assange skipped bail in the United Kingdom and went into hiding at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, "the extradition order was impossible to enforce", Persson added.

Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, is now being held in Belmarsh prison serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012.

Assange is also facing an extradition request from the US, which wants to prosecute him on charges that he conspired to help US Army Private Chelsea Manning download and leak a massive trove of classified military documents. Assange had also faced investigation for a second sex-related allegation, which was dropped in 2015 because time had run out.

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Neither of the alleged victims has been named publicly. In November that year, a Stockholm court approved a request to detain Assange for questioning.

He was arrested later that year in London before being released on bail.

He is now in London's Belmarsh Prison serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012.

Persson said a European arrest warrant will be issued for Assange.

But he said Assange may be able to argue that his likely treatment in the U.S. prison system would breach his human rights and that could not receive a fair trial due to his notoriety and links to political scandals.

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