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WikiLeaks chief rape probe reopened

A rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been reopened by a prosecutor in Sweden.

Mr Assange, an Australian, has denied the allegations and said they are part of a smear campaign by opponents of WikiLeaks, an online whistle-blower which has published thousands of leaked documents exposing US military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The case was dismissed last week by Eva Finne, chief prosecutor in Stockholm, who overruled a lower-ranked prosecutor and said there was no reason to suspect that Mr Assange had raped a Swedish woman who had reported him to police.

The woman's lawyer appealed against the decision and on Wednesday director of public prosecution Marianne Ny reopened the case.

Ms Ny also said another complaint against Assange should be investigated on suspicion of "sexual coercion and sexual molestation".

That overruled a previous decision to only investigate the case as "molestation" which is not a sex offence under Swedish law.

Mr Assange is seeking legal protection for WikiLeaks in Sweden, one of the countries where the group says it has servers.

The Swedish Migration Board said Mr Assange has applied for a work and residence permit in the Scandinavian country.

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