It is being reported on August 28, 2015 that officials from Sweden and Ecuador will meet this Monday to discuss the rape charges against Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 in an effort to avoid extradition.
Assange, 44, was originally slapped with four criminal complaints in Sweden. “Two women made allegations against Assange five years ago in Stockholm, but no charges were brought because the prosecutor was unable to interrogate him after he challenged an extradition order and sought political asylum in the [Ecuadorian] embassy in June 2012.”
Assange has not stepped outside of the embassy in three years. British police are stationed by the entrance to arrest him if he does. This has cost the UK taxpayer over ten millions pounds (over 15 million USD.)
Three sexual assault charges against Assange were dropped by August 2015 due to them reaching Sweden’s statute of limitations. However, the rape charge is still active until 2020. “Assange condemned the ‘incompetence’ of Swedish authorities in failing to meet this deadline after he consistently demanded that prosecutors interview him in London so he could protest his innocence.”
Sweden was forced to enter a bilateral agreement with Ecuador before being allowed to question Assange at the London based embassy regarding the criminal accusations. “We do not normally enter into bilateral agreements and encourage states to enter multilateral ones instead,” said Cecilia Riddselius, the Swedish justice ministry official responsible for the case. “‘But considering this specific case and our willingness to move the case forward, we are open to discuss this. It will be a general agreement but we hope it will be applicable to the Assange case.’”
Assange wanted assurances from Sweden that they will not extradite him to the United States as he refuses to face being tried for publishing hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents on his Wikileaks website. After tense negotiations with Ecuador, Sweden finally managed to secure a meeting to talk to Assange. Swedish authorities plan to ultimately hold a hearing on Assange’s rape charges in the near future.
“The talks starting Monday will be led by Sweden’s Secretary of State Ann Linde and Ecuador’s Fernando Yepez Lasso.”