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Sweden Reopening Assange Rape Case

Swedish Vice Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson announces that the prosecutor will re-open the preliminary investigation against Julian Assange, who is accused of rape and sexual harassment in 2010, at a news conference in Stockholm, May 13, 2019.

Swedish prosecutors are reopening a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Speaking to reporters Monday in Stockholm, Eva-Marie Persson, deputy director of public prosecutions, said that “there is still a probable cause to suspect that Assange committed a rape,'' adding that in her assessment “a new questioning of Assange is required.''

Persson said that the circumstances now allow for the extradition of Assange from Britain. However, she said, it is for Britain to decide whether to extradite him to Sweden or to the United States where he is wanted for allegedly hacking into a Pentagon computer.

Reacting to the Sweden’s decision, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said in a statement that the reopening of the case will give Assange a chance to clear his name.

"Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case," Hrafnsson said.

Swedish prosecutors filed preliminary charges against Assange in 2010. The investigation into alleged sexual misconduct was dropped seven years later after Assange fled into the Ecuadorian embassy and the statute of limitations then expired.

The statute of limitations on the reopened rape case expires in August 2020, in which case the investigation would be suspended if no conclusion were reached.