Ecuador to allow Swedish prosecutors to question Julian Assange at London embassy

Aug 12, 2016 | 64 comments

Ecuador said Thursday that it will allow Swedish prosecutors to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its London embassy. A date will be set for the interview within one to two weeks, according to an embassy official.

Julian Assange

Julian Assange

Although he has not been formerly charged, Assange is wanted for questioning by Swedish police for a rape allegation stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. The allegation was lodged by two Swedish prostitutes. Assange claims the charges are trumped up to force his extradition to the U.S., where he says he could face the death penalty for espionage.

Ecuador agreed with Assange that the charges against him were politically motivated and granted him asylum in 2012. He has lived in Ecuador’s London embassy ever since.

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said questioning by Swedish prosecutors would take place at the embassy since Assange is subject to arrest by British police if he leaves the building.

Swedish Prosecution Authority spokeswoman Karin Rosander said Sweden handed over a formal request to interview Assange in January, and a reminder in June, and received Ecuador’s reply on Tuesday.

“It means that a questioning can make the case go forward,” Rosander told The Associated Press. “This is decisive to be able to take a decision whether to formally charge him or not.”
In recent weeks, Assange has become a presidential campaign issue in two countries.

In the U.S., WikiLeaks released hundreds of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee at the beginning of the Democratic convention last month. The FBI claims that the Russian government was responsible for the hacking although it is unclear how the emails ended up in WikiLeaks’ and Assange’s hands.

In Ecuador, presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso is claiming that Ecuador has no business harboring Assange. “We are getting a bad reputation for allowing him to live in our embassy, and for what reason?” he said. “His security is not our business and if he broke the law he should pay the price.”

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