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The Latest: Sweden reopens rape case against Assange

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STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Latest on Swedish prosecutors’ decision whether to reopen a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (all times local):

2 p.m.

The lawyer for a Swedish woman who reported being raped by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010 says “today we got great news.”

Elisabeth Massi Fritz says the decision by Swedish authorities to open the rape case against Assange “signals that no one stands above the law,” and that “the legal system in Sweden doesn’t give a special treatment to anyone.”

Massi Fritz told reporters Monday she spoke with her client, who is not named, by phone. She said her client “feels great gratitude.”

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Earlier in the day, Swedish prosecutors said they will seek Assange’s extradition to Sweden.

Massi Fritz said she hoped justice would prevail, and “we believe the evidence is good enough that it must be tested.”

Assange denies wrongdoing. He is serving a 50-week prison term in London for jumping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face the allegations.

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11:45 a.m.

WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief says the Swedish decision to reopen a rape case against Julian Assange “will give Julian a chance to clear his name.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson said in a statement Monday that Swedish prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson had been under “intense political pressure” to reopen the case. He also asserted that the case has been “mishandled” from the start.

Persson announced the Swedish decision a month after Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per E. Samuelsen, said that his client is innocent and he doesn’t understand the reasoning for reopening a 10-year-old case.

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11:35 a.m.

Julian Assange’s Swedish lawyer says he is “very surprised” by prosecutors’ decision to reopen a rape case against the WikiLeaks founder and says that his client is innocent.

Prosecutors in Stockholm announced the decision on Monday, a month after Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. They said they would seek Assange’s extradition from Britain.

Lawyer Per E. Samuelson told Swedish broadcaster SVT: “I do not understand the Swedish prosecutor’s … reasoning for reopening a 10-year old case.”

Swedish prosecutors filed preliminary charges against Assange in 2010.

Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired. That left a rape allegation, which couldn’t be pursued while Assange was living at the embassy. The statute of limitations on that case expires in August 2020.

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11:25 a.m.

Swedish prosecutors say they will seek the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Assange after he has served his 50-week prison term in Britain for jumping bail.

Prosecutors in Stockholm said Monday that they will reopen a rape case against Assange, a month after he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange denies wrongdoing.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, told a news conference that “in order to execute the arrest warrant, the prosecutor will issue a so-called European arrest warrant.”

The Swedish move would leave Britain to decide whether to extradite Assange to Sweden or to the United States, where he is wanted for allegedly hacking into a Pentagon computer.

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11:15 a.m.

Swedish prosecutors are reopening a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, told a news conference in Stockholm that “there is still a probable cause to suspect that Assange committed a rape.” She added: “It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required.”

Swedish prosecutors filed preliminary charges against Assange after he visited the country in 2010.

Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired. That left a rape allegation, which couldn’t be pursued while Assange was living at the embassy. The statute of limitations on that case expires in August 2020.

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9:25 a.m.

Swedish prosecutors plan to say Monday whether they will reopen a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a month after he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, is scheduled to hold a news conference in Stockholm. If Sweden relaunches the case, that could leave Britain deciding whether to extradite him to the Scandinavian country or the United States.

Swedish prosecutors filed preliminary charges against Assange after he visited the country in 2010.

Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired. That left a rape allegation, which couldn’t be pursued while Assange was living at the embassy. The statute of limitations on that case expires in August 2020.

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This story has been corrected to spell the name of Assange’s lawyer as Samuelson, instead of Samuelsen.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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