READING FROM DAILYWIRE On April 11, WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police for skipping bail in 2012 and claiming asylum for seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Three weeks later, Assange was sentenced to nearly 12 months in prison for breaching England’s Bail Act.
When the controversial figure has completed his time behind bars, British authorities will now have a decision to make: extradite him to the U.S. for conspiracy charges or to Sweden for a rape case, which Swedish authorities announced Monday they’ve just officially reopened.
In an official press conference Monday, Sweden’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson said she believes that they still have “probable cause to accuse Mr. Assange of rape,” NBC News reports. “It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required,” she said.
Mr. Persson told the press that Sweden plans to issue a European arrest warrant requesting he be extradited to Stockholm upon release from prison next year. “When deciding which has precedence, a Swedish or U.S. extradition request, this decision will be left entirely to the British authorities,” Persson said according to NBC.
Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden for a preliminary investigation into multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him — allegations he claims were politically motivated. While two sexual misconduct allegations have since passed their statute of limitations, one allegation of rape has not. Swedish authorities chose to reopen the rape case after the lawyer of the accuser said she is still willing to pursue charges.
The statute of limitations for the rape charges expires in August 2020, giving prosecutors only a few months to convict Assange if he is extradited to Sweden upon release from British prison. That Assange would be extradited to Sweden is not certain, however, as he also faces charges in the U.S. for leaking classified military documents obtained by Bradley Manning (now “Chelsea Manning”), a former Army intelligence officer who was convicted in 2013 of violating the Espionage Act.