Ecuador Internacional

Julian Assange: Ecuador and Sweden in tense standoff over interview

The Guardian - Esther Addley - David Crouch 23/07/2015

Foto: The Guardian

Foto: The Guardian

Ecuador and Sweden are in a tense diplomatic standoff over arrangements for Swedish prosecutors to interview Julian Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in London, weeks before the statute of limitations on most of the sexual assault allegations against him are due to expire under Swedish law.

More than three years after the Wikileaks founder sought asylum inside Ecuador’s small, west London embassy, Sweden said its prosecutors were now ready to travel to interview him there, and that Ecuador was blocking progress by insisting the two countries must agree terms before it will allow the Swedes access.

Quito insists it is a requirement of Ecuadorean law that the two countries draw up a formal agreement before prosecutors can enter — which it argues could be a quick and straightforward process — and says that despite its repeated appeals to break the deadlock, the Swedes have left it to the very last minute to act.

Assange, 44, is wanted in Sweden over four alleged offences of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, which he denies, after two women reported him to Stockholm police in 2010. He has not been charged with any offence.

The Australian asked Ecuador for asylum in June 2012 after losing his appeals to the UK courts. Assange argues that going to Sweden would leave him vulnerable to onward extradition to the US, which is known to be investigating Wikileaks over its publishing activities.

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