It has been one month since UK police entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrested Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. the Wikileaks founder has already been slapped with a 50-week sentence for skipping his bail in the UK, and as the UK prepares to process an extradition request from US prosecutors, they now must also decide whether Sweden has a legitimate claim.
Swedish prosecutors are again requesting that Assange be extradited to Sweden to face trial on rape charges after prosecutors revived an investigation following reports that Assange had been ousted from the embassy. Assange managed to avoid extradition to Sweden for seven years by hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy (Assange initially sought refuge there back in 2012, when he skipped bail in the UK and took shelter in the embassy, claiming that the charges in Sweden were merely a ruse for him to be handed over to the US), according to RT.
Though Assange has only been charged with one count of attempting to break into a government computer in the US – a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five-and-a-half years – his lawyers have speculated that the US could introduce charges under the Espionage Act, which could carry a death sentence, once he’s safely back on American soil. Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson accused Sweden of bowing to external pressure, saying “there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case.”
In other Assange-related news, El Pais reports that the government of Ecuador will allow UK authorities to search a room occupied by Assange during his seven-year asylum, and will turn over any documents, cellphones, digital files, computers, memory drives, CDs and any other items of interest investigators might discover.
Assange’s room will be searched on May 20. Ecuador’s decision to confiscate his belongings and turn them over to foreign authorities has been relayed to Assange’s attorneys.