Swedish prosecutor files request for Assange's arrest over rape allegation

The warrant, if granted, would be the first step in a process to have Julian Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.
The warrant, if granted, would be the first step in a process to have Julian Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.PHOTO: REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (REUTERS) - The Swedish prosecutor heading an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday (May 20) filed a request for his arrest, the Prosecution Authority said.

The warrant, if granted, would be the first step in a process to have Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

Sweden reopened an investigation into the rape allegation, first made in 2010, on May 13.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told a news conference in Stockholm last week she would continue a preliminary investigation that was dropped in 2017 without charges being brought after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Assange, who denies the accusation, was arrested in Britain last month after spending seven years hiding inside the embassy.

The United States is also seeking to extradite him on conspiracy charges relating to the public release by Wikileaks of a cache of secret documents, including assessments of foreign leaders, wars and security matters.