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Swedish prosecutor reopens Assange rape investigation

Key Points
  • Sweden's state prosecutor is to reopen a rape investigation into Julian Assange.
  • The lawyer for the Wikileaks founder calls the decision "an embarrasment" to Sweden.
  • Wikileaks says the case will give Assange a chance to clear his name.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at court in London on May 1, 2019 to be sentenced for bail violation.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS | AFP | Getty Images

Sweden's state prosecutor said on Monday she would reopen a rape investigation involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that circumstances now existed to seek his extradition from Britain.

Eva-Marie Persson told a news conference prosecutors would continue and conclude a preliminary investigation that was dropped in 2017 without charges being brought as Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Assange was arrested in Britain last month after spending seven years inside the embassy. The United States is also seeking his extradition on charges relating to the public release by Wikileaks of a huge cache of secret documents.

According to Reuters, the Swedish lawyer for Assange has called the decision "an ermbarrasment" to Sweden.

WikiLeaks said on Monday that the reopening of the rape allegation will give Assange a chance to clear his name.

"Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case," Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief said in a statement.

"Its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name," Hrafnsson said.