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Assange to be questioned by Sweden on rape allegation, Ecuador says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London. Peter Nicholls/REUTERS/file

LONDON — Ecuador and Sweden have agreed to allow Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors inside the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, in a possible breakthrough to a four-year impasse, Ecuador said Thursday, but no date for the interview was announced.

The Ecuadoran attorney general delivered a document agreeing to a request by the Swedish prosecutor to question Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who is wanted by Sweden for questioning to respond to allegations of rape made against him, accusations he denies.

Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutor’s office, said that the investigation was almost finished but that “the interview with the suspect has been missing all the time.”

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Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012 after his appeal against extradition to Sweden was denied, and he has been confined to the embassy ever since.He says if he is first sent to Sweden, he could then be sent to the United States and charged with espionage offenses.

WikiLeaks has published damaging and confidential information from the United States and many other governments, and although there is no open indictment against Assange in Washington, he and his organization are the subject of an investigation.

Assange has previously offered to be questioned inside the embassy, but prosecutors had insisted until last year that he be interviewed in Sweden.

His lawyers in Sweden recently made a new appeal to drop the arrest warrant against him, citing the “passivity” of the Swedish prosecutor in trying to question him.

Assange is sought for questioning to see if he should be charged with “minor rape” after an episode in 2010 in Sweden. Earlier allegations of sexual abuse were dropped because of the statute of limitations.

New York Times