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WikiLeaks: Swedish prosecutors waiting for clarification on Assange interview

Published 07/09/2016

File photo dated 05/02/16 of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as Sweden's chief prosecutor has made it clear there is no immediate prospect of interviewing the WikiLeaks founder in London.
File photo dated 05/02/16 of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as Sweden's chief prosecutor has made it clear there is no immediate prospect of interviewing the WikiLeaks founder in London.

Swedish prosecutors are still waiting to hear from the Ecuador Government on when they can interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at their embassy in London.

Mr Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy for over four years to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces a sex allegation, which he denies.

The Ecuadorian attorney general has delivered a document agreeing to a request by the Swedish prosecutor to question Mr Assange.

But Marianne Ny, Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution, said there had been no development since the beginning of August.

"We were told by the Ecuador Government they have accepted our request to interview Julian Assange at the embassy in London, but so far we have heard nothing from them," she told a press conference in Sweden.

"We are waiting to be told how and when the interview will take place and whether we will be able to be present."

She said it was normal in this kind of case to interview someone face to face and she could see no reason to give Mr Assange any "special treatment".

Mr Assange criticised holding the press conference ahead of a decision on Friday by Sweden's Appeal Court following a finding by a United Nations Working Group that his confinement inside the embassy amounted to arbitrary detention.

The UN panel called on the Swedish and British authorities earlier this year to end his "deprivation of liberty", respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation.

In May, a Stockholm district court upheld an arrest warrant, but Mr Assange filed an appeal at Sweden's Court of Appeal, arguing that Sweden must comply with the UN group's findings that his deprivation of liberty was unlawful and that Sweden must release and compensate him for the harm caused.

Mr Assange said: "The prosecutor's state-funded press conference today appears to be a highly inappropriate attempt to place pressure on the courts.

"The press conference comes just 48 hours before the Court of Appeal decides on whether I should be freed following the UN's finding that the detention without charge against me is unlawful.

"The press conference also comes hours before an in depth expose on the case from Sweden's top investigative team is broadcast on Sweden's national broadcaster. By holding the press conference six hours before the broadcast journalists will not know what questions to ask."

WikiLeaks points out that the UK Government refuses to give any guarantees that Mr Assange will not be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the embassy.

The FBI and US Department of Justice informed a federal court in the United States that "prosecutive efforts" remain under way against WikiLeaks.

Press Association

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