Sweden, Ecuador agree to talk over Assange next week

Sweden aims to reach settlement for prosecutors on Julian Assange trial at the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Sweden and Ecuador are due to talk about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s sex crime allegations next week.

The two countries could not previously reach an agreement as the Swedish side originally rejected a demand by Ecuador that the two countries establish a formal agreement on a judicial cooperation.

Talks are now due to start on Monday over allegations against Assange, who have been residing at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.

“We have agreed to what the Ecuadorians asked for,” said Cecilia Riddselius, the Swedish justice ministry official responsible for the case “It was a political decision to have this discussion."

“Normally ministers cannot interfere in individual cases, it is part of our legal system, this is a strict rule. At the same time, it is under the competence of the government to enter into agreements with other states. A decision was taken to actually raise it to the level of the cabinet,” she said.

“The government had now offered to enter into a general agreement on legal assistance with Ecuador but could still not commit to a specific deal over Mr Assange because it had no bilateral treaty with Quito on such matters,” she added.

Prosecutors in Sweden said that they will expedite the investigation of the final charge due to time. Following the announcement, Britain said that they would appeal to the Ecuadorian government over its decision to award asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks, which would prevent his deportation to Sweden.

“Ecuador must recognise that its decision to harbor Mr Assange for more than three years ago has prevented the proper course of justice,” British Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said in a statement released earlier in August.

Reuters, TRTWorld and agencies