YESTERDAY Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced that an investigation into a rape allegation made against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010 will now be reopened.
This is while the US wants to extradite Assange from the UK over his alleged role in the release of classified military and diplomatic material in 2010.
Australian-born Assange faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the US, which could result in an extremely long prison sentence or even the death penalty.
In 2010 WikiLeaks released classified US military footage, entitled ‘Collateral Murder’, showing a US Apache helicopter gunship opening fire on a number of people killing 12, including two Reuters staff, and injuring two children.
Speaking at a press conference, Persson said that a European Arrest Warrant would now be issued for Assange.
‘The prosecutor will shortly request that Julian Assange be detained in his absence suspected on probable cause for an allegation of rape,’ she said.
Persson said the UK authorities would then decide on which extradition request to follow if both Sweden and the US are competing.
‘I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the UK and that he could be extradited to the US,’ she said.
‘In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority,’ she added.