Sweden Gives In, Will Interview Assange in London

Swedish prosecutors need to speak to WikiLeaks founder before deadline
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2015 11:03 AM CDT
Sweden Gives In, Will Interview Assange in London
In this Feb. 1, 2012, file photo, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, arrives at the Supreme Court in London.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

After a long battle to haul Julian Assange back to Sweden, prosecutors from that country have now acquiesced and say they'll go to him in London to interview him on sex crime allegations, the AP reports. Assange, who's been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in England since 2012, has been reluctant to head back to Sweden—where he was accused of sexually assaulting two women in 2010—for questioning: He's nervous he'll be extradited to the US from there, the BBC notes, even though the Wall Street Journal points out the US hasn't yet requested extradition. The reason for the Swedes' change of plans? The statute of limitations runs out on some of his alleged crimes this August, lead prosecutor Marianne Ny says in a statement in which she also formally announces her request for Assange's assent for the visit and a DNA sample.

"My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in Sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future," she says. "Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it … necessary to accept such deficiencies." Assange attorney Per Samuelson welcomes her arrival, telling Reuters, "[Assange] has been nagging for this for four years. He wants nothing more than to have an opportunity ... to give his version of what happened and to clear his name." Samuelson adds to the New York Times that Ny already has a DNA sample from Assange and "we don't know why she is asking for it once more." The Ecuadorian embassy—which Samuelson says would need to approve the visit, along with British authorities—couldn't be reached for comment, Reuters notes. (Could Assange's reportedly declining health also have played a part in the venue change?)

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