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Sweden requests Assange detained over alleged rape

20 May 2019, 19:56 ( 28 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
File Photo Xinhua.

Swedish prosecution on Monday requested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be detained for alleged rape, and a detention hearing will be held within a few days, Swedish media reported.

   The request was filed at Uppsala District Court by Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions, said television broadcaster SVT.

   The request came a week after Persson announced she would reopen a previously discontinued investigation into the alleged rape.

   "I request the District Court to detain Assange in his absence, on probable cause suspected for rape," said Persson in a statement. "If the court decides to detain him, I will issue a European Arrest Warrant concerning surrender to Sweden."

   The rape allegation dates from 2010, when Assange was accused by two women of sexual molestation, coercion and rape. At the time, Assange denied the accusations but refused to be questioned in Sweden, fearing that Sweden would then extradite him to the United States to face conspiracy charges.

   Assange fled to Britain soon after and was granted political asylum by the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he had lived until April 2019. He was thereafter evicted by the embassy and arrested by british authorities, making it possible for Sweden to resume the investigation.

   Currently, Assange is held in Belmarsh high-security prison in London.

   The United Kingdom is pursuing an extradition request made by the United States, in relation to WikiLeak's release of a number of classified military and diplomatic documents.

   Persson reiterated in her statement on Monday that in the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the United States, it will be up to British authorities to decide on the order of priority.