Swedish prosecutors on Monday issued a formal request to hold WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, currently imprisoned in Britain, on suspicion of rape — a first step towards seeking his extradition to Sweden.
Swedish deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement she had filed a request with the Uppsala district court to have Assange detained in his absence over an alleged rape.
Detaining someone in their absence is a standard part of Swedish legal procedure if a suspect is outside the country or cannot be located.
The request follows last week’s reopening of a 2010 rape investigation, and Persson added that once the court had granted the request, she would then ask British authorities to transfer Assange to Sweden.
“If the court decides to detain him, I will issue a European Arrest Warrant concerning surrender to Sweden,” Persson said.
The Australian whistleblower, who holed himself up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for seven years to avoid a British extradition order to Sweden, was arrested by British police on April 11 after Ecuador gave him up.
A London court sentenced him on May 1 to 50 weeks in jail for breaching the British order.
The Swedish investigation concerns events which took place in 2010 when a Swedish woman accused Assange of rape, after meeting him at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm.
Assange has always denied the allegations.
Swedish authorities closed the investigation in 2017, when Sweden’s then director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny argued that since Assange
could not be reached, having taken up residence in Ecuador’s embassy, it was not possible to proceed with the probe.
But the investigation was reopened on May 13 following Assange’s arrest in London.
– Uncertain future –
The prosecution authority was unable to say when the detention hearing would take place since this would be up to the court to decide, and that a European Arrest Warrant would only be issued after the court had granted the detention request.
When contacted by AFP, the Uppsala district court, where the request was filed, said the detention hearing had not yet been scheduled.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer Per E Samuelson said that he didn’t think the detention hearing could take place this week, since he would need to go over the matter with his client first.
“I’ve written the district court and said that they can’t hold a detention hearing until I’ve met my client and received instructions. Since he is currently incarcerated in London I haven’t even been able to establish contact over the phone yet,” Samuelson told AFP on Monday.
Assange is already the subject of an extradition request from the United States, where he is wanted for hacking. That request was only revealed following his arrest in London.
Eva-Marie Persson said it would be up to British authorities to decide which country’s request should take precedence.
“In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority. The outcome of this process is impossible to predict,” Persson said.
Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems
Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.
Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."
Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.
Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.
The black-and-white photograph shows Trudeau, then 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened at a gala party in 2001.
A veteran teacher explains why Trump is incapable of learning
While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.