Sweden's Prosecutors Could Reopen Julian Assange Rape Case

The case against the WikiLeaks founder was dropped in 2017 because he couldn't be questioned in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Following the detainment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by British police, prosecutors in Sweden are considering whether to reopen a rape investigation against him.

Assange, 47, was taken into custody Thursday on a conspiracy charge on behalf of the U.S. in relation to the leaking of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents. Nine years ago, he had taken refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after jumping bail while wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, released a statement late Thursday saying that her office had received a request from Assange’s accuser to reopen the investigation. Swedish officials had ended the inquiry in 2017 because investigators could not question Assange as long as he was being granted diplomatic protection at the embassy. That ended on Thursday.

“We will now examine the case in order to determine how to proceed,” Persson said in the statement. “The investigation has not yet been resumed, and we do not know today whether it will be. Furthermore, we cannot set a timetable for when any such decision will be made.” 

Assange faced two other charges of sexual assault in Sweden, but those cases were dropped in 2015 as time had expired to prosecute.