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    Julian Assange takes part in news conference via video link from Ecuadoran Embassy in London

    Assange Welcomes Swedish Questioning in Embassy but It 'Doesn't Cure Harm'

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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange welcomes Ecuador’s decision to allow Swedish prosecutors to question him at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum in August 2012, Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange's legal team, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Ecuador would allow Sweden to question Assange at its London embassy.

    "Obviously, Mr. Assange welcomes it but it doesn’t cure the harm he suffered," Taylor said.

    Assange and Ecuador have been calling for this to happen for over five years as it is a fundamental right to be able to defend one's name, she noted.

    "Under Swedish law, it’s a fundamental procedure. The reason why this hasn’t occurred previously is because of the Swedish prosecutor’s refusal of Ecuador’s invitation. And this is something that should have happened five years ago," Taylor explained.

    She also expressed hope that the questioning would not be a "superficial" procedure, adding "that the prosecutor will do this to tick the boxes."

    Members of Assange's legal team will be present at the questioning, however, details of the procedure are still unknown, Taylor said.

    "That’s a basic right. I’m not sure if they have worked out the specific modalities of the questioning but he has a right to be represented by a lawyer during such a questioning," the lawyer concluded.

    Fearing extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexual assault, and from there to the United States where the founder of the whistleblowing website faces espionage charges for publishing classified documents, Assange has not been able to leave the grounds of the embassy for more than four years.

    Assange launched the WikiLeaks website in 2006. Since then, the site has released millions of classified diplomatic documents from around the world on espionage practices, war crimes, torture and many other human rights violations. The US charges against the whistleblower include espionage, conspiracy, theft of government property and computer fraud — for which Assange could face 45 years in prison.

    In February, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) ruled that Assange's deprivation of liberty by Sweden and the United Kingdom was unlawful.

    Topic:
    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange case (73)

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    WikiLeaks, Melinda Taylor, Julian Assange, Ecuador, Sweden
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