Assange May Be Extradited To Sweden Case After London Jail Time

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 will re-open the investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Sweden's deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, said Monday that Sweden would seek the extradition of Julian Assange to face a almost ten-year old allegation of rape.

The 47-year-old Australian met the women in connection with a lecture in August 2010 in Stockholm.

Persson said Monday that although she would not discuss evidence, she believed there was "probable cause" for the suspicions against Assange.

Preliminary charges of rape have been filed against Assange since 2010. The whistleblower denied the claims and insisted they had been fabricated to extradite him to the U.S., but was still arrested in London the same year.

As the years ticked by, Assange's camp maintained that should he leave the embassy and be arrested, he would be promptly handed over to waiting American CIA agents in black helicopters for publishing, among other stuff, secret US diplomatic cables that had been given to WikiLeaks by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Assange has denied the charges.

While a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped in 2017 when the statute of limitations expired, a rape allegation remains.

In 2015, Swedish prosecutors dropped their probe into some of the allegations - sexual molestation and unlawful coercion - because of the statue of limitations had expired, but they continued their investigation into an allegation of rape.

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Wikileaks has said this would be an opportunity for Assange "to clear his name", while his lawyers claimed it's "embarrassing for Sweden", BBC reported. She further stressed that if the United Kingdom decides to extradite Assange to Sweden, the country won't send him to a third country without London's consent.

Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, is now being held in Belmarsh prison serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012. Persson said that Sweden will be requesting Assange's extradition after he serves his 50-week-long sentence in a British prison. "It would be very hard politically to say that a computer intrusion offence is more serious than an allegation of rape", she said. "Such an interview, however, requires Julian Assange's consent". And she mentioned that her office might speak to Assange by video link in the United Kingdom - if he agrees.

Valid across the European Union since 2004, the EAW was created to speed up lengthy extradition operations and allows EU members to ask for the arrest and surrender of criminals in other member states.

"This decision will be left entirey to the British authorities", said Persson.

The British extradition process is not swift, and Assange could appeal several times if decisions go against him.

"She has previously lost faith in Swedish judicial system", she added.

In response to the Swedish inquiry restarting, WikiLeaks accused prosecutors of bending to "intense political pressure" but said renewed investigations would allow Assange to clear his name. "Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years".

That case was adjourned until May 30 for a procedural hearing, with another hearing planned for June 12, according to Reuters.

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