World

Julian Assange Questioned About Rape Allegations

| by Michael Allen

After six years, Swedish prosecutors were finally able to pose their questions to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London Nov. 14.

Assange has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about rape allegations.

The 45-year-old Australian is also expected to be questioned Nov. 15 and provide a DNA sample, subject to his consent, noted CNN.

An Ecuadorean prosecutor is doing the actual questioning while Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and a Swedish police investigator are in attendance, reports the Chicago Tribune.

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Some of the alleged sex crimes by Assange against two women are no longer being investigated because of Sweden's statute of limitations.

One Swedish woman accused Assange of intentionally breaking a condom, and holding her down during sex, while a second accused Assange of having sex with her while she was asleep and not using a condom.

Per Samuelsson, Assange's Swedish lawyer, told the Swedish news service SVT: "I'm not on the list of persons that Ecuador has drawn up and allowed to be present. An Ecuadorean lawyer has taken up this question as a formal issue in the introduction of the hearing."

Assange's website, WikiLeaks complained about Samuelsson not being a part of the questioning, but added that Assange cooperated "fully" with the investigation.

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Prosecutors will not be making any public statements about the questioning.

Assange has denied committing any crimes, but fears that he will be extradited to the U.S. because WikiLeaks has dumped tons of U.S. government classified documents on the web.

Swedish prosecutors had an international arrest warrant for Assange in November 2010, and he surrendered and posted bail to British authorities. He fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in June 2012.

WikiLeaks tried to put the blame on Sweden for the delay in a statement: "Sweden's failure to progress the preliminary investigation until now has resulted in a gross breach of Mr Assange's right to be presumed innocent and has fatally harmed his ability to meaningfully defend himself," notes CNN.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, CNN / Photo credit: Tania Burgos-Lucero/Facebook via Wikimedia Commons

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