Swedish prosecutors cancel Assange’s questioning

Swedish prosecutors cancel sexual allegation questioning of Assange

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A meeting in London with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange aimed at questioning him for sex allegations, has been cancelled by Swedish prosecutors.

A formal request was proposed to British and Ecuadorian authorities to speak to the Australian former hacker at Ecuador’s London embassy which has provided him refuge in June 2012.

Julian Assange said in a statement on Wednesday that “this afternoon, the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny cancelled a prospective appointment to take my statement today. We proposed the dates and Ny accepted them.”

“Prosecutor Ny led my lawyers to believe that the appointment was proceeding. My lawyers had booked tickets and I have been put to considerable expense. Today, I learned that the Swedish legal application to Ecuador, which is likely to take weeks, was only sent to Ecuador two days ago,” Assange added.

Assange’s lawyer Thomas Olsson said that chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren was to set a meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, but later she cancelled the meeting.

“I was informed that the interrogations would not be held because they had not received the required permissions from Ecuador,” added Olsson.

The press spokesman of Swedish Prosecution Authority (Aklagarmyndigheten) Fredrik Berg said that the meeting was cancelled due to the delayed documents.

“We will do everything to ensure the interrogation happens in June or July,” Berg added.

The foreign ministry of Ecuador released a statement saying the Sweden’s request has still been considered.

The ministry urged prosecutors not to contradict with “Ecuadorian jurisdiction in the area of asylum rights,” during Assange’s questioning.

Following his arrest in 2010, prosecutors had insisted on questioning Assange in Sweden, however he feared being flown to Sweden as he could have then been extradited to the US to be tried for one of the largest information leaks in US history.

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has long resisted interrogating Assange in London, claiming that it would decrease the quality of the questioning, and insisting that he should be flown to Stockholm instead.

Assange who currently lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, has not been formally charged, but prosecutors want to question him over allegations of rape and sexual misconduct made by two women he met during a trip to Sweden in August 2010. Assange denies the assault charges.

Time is running out for Assange’s trial as prosecutors have until August 2015 to question him about some of the allegations, but until 2020 to investigate the most severe alleged rape offence. This was reportedly the reason why prosecutors changed their stance and finally agreed to question him in London, before his trial expires.

Prosecutors said they were also asking to conduct a DNA test of Assange which his lawyer asserted that he had already provided to UK officials.

Journalist and activist, Assange, is the mastermind behind the 2010 WikiLeaks who released 500,000 classified military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 diplomatic cables, consequently embarrassing Washington.

TRTWorld and agencies