Assange lawyers demand London interrogation

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking to the media outside the High Court in London on Dec 5, 2011. Lawyers representing Assange in Sweden demanded on Wednesday that he be interrogated in London on the rape and sexual molestation allegations
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking to the media outside the High Court in London on Dec 5, 2011. Lawyers representing Assange in Sweden demanded on Wednesday that he be interrogated in London on the rape and sexual molestation allegations made by two Swedish women. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Lawyers representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sweden demanded on Wednesday that he be interrogated in London on the rape and sexual molestation allegations made by two Swedish women.

Assange broke bail and sought refuge at the Ecuador's embassy in London in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning under a European arrest warrant. He claimed that he would risk further extradition to the United States on espionage charges over his whistleblowing website if he went to Sweden.

The prosector in charge of the case has refused to interrogate the Australian national in London, arguing that it would be against Swedish legal practice and represent special treatment, a claim his lawyers now refute.

"Prosecutor Marianne Ny must ... start treating him as everbody else who is under suspicion," Thomas Olsson and Per Samuelsson wrote in an op-ed article in the daily Svenska Dagbladet, paraphrasing part of the Swedish legal code which allows investigations to "be adapted to the situation in which the investigated party finds himself".

The lawyers accused the prosecutor of "passiveness" and demanded her replacement if she is not prepared to interview Assange in London.

"Assuming that the prosecutor does not have a prejudiced opinion regarding the question of guilt, and is prepared to treat the different versions objectively, it is obvious that an interrogation with Julian Assange would benefit everybody, including the injured parties," they wrote.

Two women in their thirties accused Assange of rape and sexual molestation during a high profile visit he made to Stockholm in 2010 - at the height of his website's revelations of US military attacks on civilians in Iraq - but the case has stood still as prosecutors have been unable to question the WikiLeaks founder.

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