Sweden’s Prosecution Authority has re-opened the 2010 rape and sexual misconduct case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Eva-Marie Persson, a deputy director of public prosecutions, said on Monday, TASS reported.
"On account of Julian Assange leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, the circumstances in this case have changed," she said. "I take the view that there exists the possibility to take the case forward."
According to Persson, the United States also plans to file an official extradition request for Assange before June 14, 2019. However, she refused to comment on Assange’s possible extradition to Sweden.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority is also looking at organizing a new interview with Assange either by means of a videoconference or in the United Kingdom.
Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal in 2006 to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. After harassment charges had been brought against him in Sweden in 2012, Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to escape extradition. The rape case was dropped in 2017 but the United Kingdom continued to insist that Assange be arrested over his failure to appear in court in London.
The WikiLeaks founder was eventually arrested by the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police on April 11 after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno had announced the withdrawal of his asylum. His lawyers say that if extradited to the United States, Assange may face a 35-year prison term or capital punishment. The US Department of Justice has said, though, that Assange may get a five-year prison term at most for computer hacking. On May 1, Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his British bail conditions.
In was reported on Sunday that Ecuador’s chief prosecutor’s office decided to search the room Assange had spent the latest seven year in. All the documents, cell phones, computers and other devices are expected to be handed over to the United States. The search is scheduled for May 20.