Swedish prosecutors announced Monday that they are reopening a rape case against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, multiple news outlets are reporting.
According to The Associated Press, Eva-Marie Persson, the country’s deputy chief prosecutor, said authorities will seek to extradite Assange to Sweden after he completes a 50-week prison sentence for jumping bail in Britain.
“There is still a probable cause to suspect that Assange committed a rape,” Persson said, adding that “a new questioning of Assange is required.”
His sentencing in the British case came May 1, nearly three weeks after London Metropolitan police arrested Assange for “failing to surrender to the court” in connection with a 2012 warrant, authorities said in an April 11 press release. Police escorted the 47-year-old Australia native out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been staying for nearly seven years, shortly after Ecuador withdrew his asylum, authorities said.
When Assange originally sought asylum, he had been facing extradition to Sweden in connection with sexual assault and rape allegations, CNN reported. The sexual assault charge expired in 2015 under the statute of limitations, and prosecutors eventually shelved the rape case, the outlet reported.
Assange continued to stay in the embassy “because he feared arrest and extradition to the United States for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks,” the AP reported.
Assange now faces an extradition request from the United States. The next court hearing about that request is scheduled for May 30, The New York Times reported.
In an indictment unsealed April 11 by the U.S. Justice Department, officials said Assange was suspected of conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.
The federal charge stems from March 2010, when authorities say Assange “agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United State Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network, a United States government network used for classified documents and communications.”
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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