BREAKING: Sweden Reopens Rape Case Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
Lawyer for woman involved in 2010 allegations requested investigation to resume
Swedish prosecutors have announced they are reopening an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange.
Prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017 because they were unable to proceed while Assange remained in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
They said at the time that the investigation could be reopened if the situation changed.
Assange, 47, was removed from the embassy last month after seven years inside, after the Ecuadorian government abruptly withdrew his asylum. He was arrested for breach of bail.
A lawyer for one of the women involved in the Swedish allegations subsequently asked for the investigation to be resumed.
Assange had also faced investigation for a second sex-related allegation, which was dropped in 2015 because time had run out. He denied both allegations.
Immediately after his arrest in April, US authorities made a request for his extradition in a case relating to a WikiLeaks release of sensitive military and diplomatic documents.
He faces allegations in the US that he conspired with a former intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, to download classified databases.
The charge against him carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Assange is being held in Belmarsh high-security prison in south London after being sentenced to 50 weeks for a bail violation.
He appeared by video link at Westminster magistrates court on 2 May to say he did not consent to be extradited to the US.
The court heard that the extradition process would take “many months”.
The case was adjourned until 30 May.
The Swedish allegations date back to 2010. Assange unsuccessfully fought through the British courts to get the extradition order and preliminary investigation dropped.
His lawyers said he feared that should he go to Sweden, authorities could hand him over to the US to face prosecution over the WikiLeaks case.
More to follow on this developing story.