Thursday, January 18, 2018
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

WikiLeaks' Assange questioned at the Ecuadorian embassy

Founder of whistle-blowing website, who has been living in Ecuador's UK embassy for years, denies the accusations.

WikiLeaks' Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been questioned by prosecutors at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in the latest twist in a long-running legal battle over a rape allegation against him.

Assange, who denies the accusation, has been holed up in the embassy for more than four years. 

Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren entered the embassy building shortly before 10:00 GMT on Monday and stayed in the building for over four hours. The questioning was being led by an Ecuadorean prosecutor. 

Assange's lawyer Per Samuelsson has said the questioning, which has been delayed in the past because of diplomatic disagreements between Ecuador and Sweden, could last several days.

"I am very hopeful ... Objectively, there is no doubt that everything happened as Assange said it did," Samuelsson told Sweden's TT news agency.

Outside the embassy, a small group of protesters held banners reading "Free Assange" and "You Won't Stop WikiLeaks" outside the embassy as the officials arrived.

"Freedom Loving People of the World Say Thank You Ecuador!" read another banner hung under the balcony from which Assange has sometimes addressed supporters.

A Swedish police inspector was also expected to attend the questioning and investigators planned to take a DNA sample from Assange, subject to his agreement.

Holed up

Assange, the creator of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 after Swedish prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant against him, over allegations of rape and sexual assault filed by two women who met Assange during a 2010 trip to Sweden.

He denied the claims, saying they were politically motivated, and insisting his sexual encounters with the two women were consensual.


READ MORE: UN panel says Assange 'arbitrarily detained' since 2010 


He has refused to travel to Sweden for questioning, fearing he would be extradited to the United States over WikiLeaks' release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the sexual assault probe last year after the five-year statute of limitations expired.

But they still want to question him about the 2010 rape allegation, which carries a 10-year statute of limitations.

It was the first time Assange has been interviewed over the matter since initial questioning by Swedish police at the time of the allegation.

Assange, speaking through his lawyer, has said he welcomes the "chance to clear his name" and hopes the investigation will subsequently close.

In May, a Swedish court reaffirmed the arrest order, rejecting the finding of a UN working group that his confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy amounted to arbitrary detention.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Italy: Some 1,400 refugees rescued at sea

Read More

Czech Republic: PM Andrej Babis loses confidence vote

Read More

Catalan MPs meet for first time since referendum bid

Read More

Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic shot dead

Read More

Rights groups to UK: Cancel Mohammed bin Salman's visit

Read More

Severe Storm Fionn to slam northwest Europe

Read More

Global_News

Brussels steps up with multi-year funding of Palestinian aid agency after US cuts UNRWA funding by half.

Read More

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Palestinians hold 'day of rage'