Julian Assange could be sent back to Sweden to face rape claims

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Swedish prosecutors said Monday they were reopening a 2010 rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, hoping to bring him to justice before the statute of limitations expires in August 2020.

Eva-Marie Persson, a Swedish prosecutor, told reporters in Stockholm that the country's courts found several instances of "probable cause" for Assange to be suspected of rape, BBC reported. "It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required", she said.

A USA law enforcement source told Reuters that Manning will likely be jailed again if she refuses to comply with a new grand jury subpoena.

He is also being held on a USA extradition warrant for allegedly hacking into a Pentagon computer in conjunction with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Sweden discontinued the investigation in 2017 because they said they were unable to advance the case while Assange was holed up at the embassy.

Assange's asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London prevented him from being surrendered to Swedish prosecutors.

The investigation will give Mr Assange a chance to clear his name, WikiLeaks said.

Duchess of Beaufort Tracy Louise Somerset, also known as Tracy Worcester, who pledged bail for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010, told Sputnik that she meant to maintain her full support for the whistleblower.

Meanwhile the U.S. is also seeking to extradite the whistleblower on charges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack a Pentagon computer and steal state secrets. "I take the view that there exists the possibility to take the case forward", said Persson.

The prosecutor said Sweden would file for extradition if the courts found grounds to detain him.

"Its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name". Assange has denied wrongdoing, asserting that the allegations were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual. Assange is now in a British prison, where he's being punished for eluding a similar warrant in 2012. "When deciding which has precedence, a Swedish or USA extradition request, this decision will be left entirely to the British authorities", Persson said according to NBC.

"In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority", a Swedish prosecutor's statement said.

The investigation was requested by lawyers for a Swedish woman who alleges Assange raped her in 2010.

Media captionVideo footage shows Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London What is the Swedish investigation about? It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue. His arrest came after Ecuador rescinded Assange's asylum claim due to "repeated violations to global conventions and daily life".

Discussing why Sweden was choosing now to go reopen the case, Persson stated: "On account of Julian Assange leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, the circumstances in this case have changed".

- April 5, 2019: A senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to expel Assange from the London embassy despite rumors he could be kicked out soon.

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