Daily Management Review

Sweden closes Assange rape inquiry


Sweden’s prosecutor’s office has stopped investigating a rape allegedly committed by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the BBC reports.

The crime took place in 2010. A Swedish citizen accused Assange of having sex with her without her consent. Head of WikiLeaks, in turn, argues that the plaintiff was not against it. Prosecutors interviewed seven witnesses before the decision to close the case was made.

“After completing the investigation in the summer and fall, it becomes apparent that the oral evidence in support of the plaintiff’s information has weakened. This is because a lot of time has passed and the memories fade,” said Swedish prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson.

Oddly enough, this is the second time that the same case was closed - two years ago, the Swedish authorities announced termination of an investigation in relation to Assange, who managed to escape from the country and hide at the Embassy of Ecuador in London.

Following the closure of the rape case in 2017, Assange made an official statement from the embassy balcony.

“I was locked up for seven years without charge, while my children grew up without me, and my name was blamed. I will not forgive or forget,” said Julian Assange.

However, in May 2019, a month after Ecuador refused Assange political asylum, and he was in the hands of the British police, Sweden announced resumption of the case and even demanded another interrogation of the accused, but this requirement was not satisfied.

However, the rape almost a decade ago is not the biggest problem of Julian Assange. His extradition is sought by the United States, where he is facing severe penalties for publishing secret government data and espionage.

Currently, Assange is in the British prison of Belmarsh. The country's authorities sentenced him to a year of imprisonment in connection with violations of the conditions of house arrest.

There, the creator of WikiLeaks does not have many opportunities for physical activity - the time that prisoners can spend outside the cell is limited. Almost half of Belmarsh inhabitants spend less than two hours a day outside. If Assange is held in a block for especially dangerous criminals, then his conditions of detention will be even more stringent - according to the report of one of the Belmarsh inspectors, the cells in this block cause “a sharp feeling of claustrophobia”.

In July, the British Foreign Office issued an official statement that it was not going to extradite Assange to a country where he could face the death penalty. Now, as the rape case is closed, only the USA are demanding extradition of the creator of WikiLeaks.

According to British Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Duncan, the absence of a death penalty for Head of WikiLeaks is "a fundamental condition for the agreement." However, in the United States, Assange is expected to be charged on 18 counts, including violation of espionage law. In addition, he is charged with publishing classified information and conspiracy to break into government computer systems.

Thus, the creator of WikiLeaks together faces up to 175 years in prison, which is hardly a better fate than the death penalty.

It is known that the following technical hearings on the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States are scheduled for December 13 and 19 of this year. 

source: bbc.com