prosecutors may finally question Julian Assange over a six-year-old
rape allegation, as Ecuador says it has granted permission to a
request for such an interview filed by Sweden this week, provided
Ecuador’s laws are respected.
confirmed on Wednesday that it had formally requested permission to
interrogate the famous whistleblower at the Ecuadorian embassy,
following an agreement signed by the two countries last month
establishing general legal cooperation between them.
Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, told the Publica national radio
station on Friday that the country was granting Sweden’s request to
interrogate Assange “as
long as the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian state and the laws in the
constitution are respected,” AP
suggested that Swedish authorities could provide their Ecuadorian
counterparts with the questions and they could be asked in the
presence of a Swedish prosecutor.
also confirmed in the radio interview that Assange will be free to
leave his hideout in Ecuador’s London embassy and live in Ecuador
if Swedish prosecutors do not charge him following the interview.
they don’t charge him, he can leave. We hope we won’t have any
problem with the United Kingdom. He would likely come to Ecuador,
because he has already been granted asylum in our country,” he
has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over three
granted Assange asylum in 2012 after he sought refuge at its embassy
while facing extradition to Sweden.
44-year-old Australian refuses to travel to Sweden to face
questioning over rape allegations, saying he fears he would then face
extradition to the United States and trial for leaking hundreds of
thousands of classified US military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
Swedish prosecutors dropped a sexual assault probe against Assange in mid-August after the five-year statute of limitations expired. They still want to question him, however, about a 2010 rape allegation, which carries a 10-year statute of limitation. Assange has denied
all of the allegations, saying the sexual encounters had been
has refused to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy for years,
despite Assange offering to give his statement there.
has been offering his statement to the prosecutor by various means
for five years [in total] and for three-and-a-half years since he
went into the embassy – whether via video link or by the prosecutor
coming to London,” Kristinn
Hrafnsson, a spokesman for WikiLeaks, told the Guardian after the
hope [the interview] can be carried out as soon as possible. Julian
is very eager to get his point of view into the investigation,” he
police guarded the Ecuadorian embassy 24 hours a day for over three
permanent guard was removed by Scotland Yard in October, saying it
was no longer “proportionate,” after
racking up £12.6 million in costs to taxpayers.
date has not yet been set for the interrogation.
all necessary permits and arrangements are ready, the interview will
be performed by the supporting prosecutor to the case, chief
prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, together with a police investigator,” the
Swedish Prosecution Authority said.