Sweden to Grill Assange Within 'Weeks'
Assange's defense team says it welcomes the move
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 11, 2016 7:57 AM CDT
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.   (Frank Augstein)

(Newser) – Ecuador says it's ready to set a date for Swedish prosecutors to question Julian Assange—a potential breakthrough in the years-long international impasse over the WikiLeaks founder, reports the AP. Assange is wanted for questioning by Swedish police over a rape allegation stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. He has not been charged and denies the rape claim and other allegations made against him by two women. Ecuador announced last year that it had agreed to a Swedish proposal to interview Assange in its London embassy, where he's been holed up since seeking shelter there in June 2012. Ecuador's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that a date for the questioning would be set "in the coming weeks."

"This is decisive to be able to take a decision whether to formally charge him or not," says a rep for the Swedish Prosecution Authority. Assange's defense team says it welcomes the steps to take the WikiLeaks founder's statement, which it says "comes after six years of complete inaction on the part of the Swedish prosecutor." Assange, 45, fears that if he is extradited to Sweden he will be sent to the United States to be prosecuted for WikiLeaks' publication of secret documents, as was WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning. Last year, Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation into claims of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion against Assange because the five-year statute of limitations was expiring. (Assange just floated a conspiracy theory.)