×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sweden Reopens Rape Case Against Julian Assange

Swedish prosecutors announced Monday that they would reopen their rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently serving a 50-week jail sentence in Britain for jumping bail on an arrest warrant stemming from the case.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, told reporters Monday that the investigation would be resumed. “I have today taken the decision to reopen the preliminary investigation,” she said at a news conference, adding that authorities believe there to be enough “probable cause” in the case for it to proceed.

Persson said she would request that Britain extradite Assange to Sweden after he is released from jail. He is expected to serve at least 25 weeks of his sentence before he can be released.

Reopening the investigation became an option after Assange was arrested April 11 in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he had been holed up for nearly seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden to face the sexual assault accusations against him. Officers from Scotland Yard moved in on him on after the government of Ecuador revoked his asylum, saying that it had had enough of Assange and what they called his rude, aggressive and unsanitary behavior inside their embassy in London’s upscale Knightsbridge neighborhood.

The WikiLeaks founder, who is an Australian national, was found guilty of breaching his bail conditions, and was sentenced May 1 to nearly a year in jail. Following his arrest, the lawyer for one of the two women who have accused him of sexual assault asked for resumption of the investigation, which had been shelved in 2017 because Assange was unavailable for questioning in person. He denies the allegations.

Assange is also facing an extradition request from the U.S., which wants to prosecute Assange on charges that he conspired to help U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning download and leak a massive trove of classified military documents.

Sweden’s decision to revive its investigation into Assange raises the issue of which country’s extradition requests takes precedence. Stockholm had first issued a European warrant on Assange in 2010 after two women accused him of sexual molestation and assault, and British police arrested him. But before his scheduled extradition to Sweden in 2012, he bolted into the Ecuadorean embassy.

Persson said it would be up to Britain to decide which extradition request to honor first. She also said that Sweden had discontinued its investigation into Assange not because of “difficulties in evidence” but because his self-sequestration in the Ecuadorean embassy made it impossible for the inquiry to proceed.

Assange and his supporters have called the Swedish investigation a pretext for his extradition to the U.S., where they say he could face the death penalty. The charges so far prepared against him in the U.S. carry a prison sentence of five years, but more charges could be in the offing.

More Politics

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Spectators watch the 2019 Eurovision Song

    U.S. Music Industry Delegation Convenes in Tel Aviv for Eurovision

    This past weekend, squeezed between a string of Eurovision Song Contest parties, Tel Aviv’s posh Norman hotel played host to an intimate, invite-only dinner of music industry delegates from the United States. The rooftop-set event was designed as a highlight on the itinerary of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) weeklong trip to Israel. CCFP, [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

  • Billie Eilish and Debbie Harry

    Billie Eilish, Blondie's Debbie Harry Attack Abortion Ban

    Songwriting took a backseat to politics for the female honorees at Thursday night’s ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton. America’s rapidly spreading anti-abortion movement in states such as Alabama, Georgia and, most recently, Missouri — and resulting legal battles that could lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade — had veteran [...]

  • The Spectator Magazine Summer Party at

    Trump Pardons Former Media Mogul Conrad Black

    President Donald Trump has issued a full pardon for Conrad Black, a former media mogul who was convicted on counts of wire fraud and obstruction of justice and who also wrote a biography that praised the president last year. According to a lengthy post on Black’s website, Trump called Black and told him personally of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content