MOSCOW (Sputnik) — UK police, on the other hand, have insisted that they would still have to arrest the WikiLeaks founder for past violations of bail conditions if he stepped out of the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been holed up for years.
In August 2010, Assange arrived in Sweden after US authorities began to investigate his activities. While in Sweden, Assange hoped to obtain personal protection and also that for his website. That same month, Swedish authorities launched a probe against Assange after two women aged 25 and 35 years each told police that they had allegedly been sexually molested by him. Assange denied any complicity in sex-related crimes and insisted that all sexual contacts had taken place through mutual consent alone and that police had motivated the vindictive women to file a complaint against him. Assange was questioned immediately after the complaint was filed and pleaded not guilty on any sexual molestation charges whatsoever. A preliminary investigation was stopped but later resumed.
In November 2010, a Stockholm court issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest on several counts of rape and sexual molestation. On November 20, Interpol issued an international warrant for his arrest.
On December 7, Assange was arrested by London police after turning himself in.
On December 16, the London-based High Court of Justice released Assange from prison on a 240,000 pound bond ($312,696 at current exchange rate) pending the examination of the Swedish extradition request.
On February 24, 2011, a UK court ruled to extradite Assange to Sweden. The WikiLeaks founder unsuccessfully appealed the decision several times.
On June 19, 2012, media reported that Assange had visited the Embassy of Ecuador in London and requested political asylum from Ecuadorean authorities for fear of being extradited by Swedish authorities to the United States in connection with his WikiLeaks activities. Assange has been staying at the Embassy of Ecuador since filing his request.
On August 16, 2012, the foreign minister of Ecuador said his country had granted political asylum to Assange. UK authorities responded that they planned to arrest Assange and to extradite him to Sweden despite this decision.
In September 2014, Assange complained against Sweden and the United Kingdom to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in connection with the decision to have him detained.
In mid-March 2015, the media reported that the Swedish High Prosecutor’s Office planned to question Assange, and he agreed to being questioned in mid-April. The Swedish High Prosecutor’s Office then requested assistance from UK law enforcement agencies during the pending investigation.
In May 2015, the Swedish Supreme Court reviewed Assange’s appeal on revoking his arrest warrant and upheld the 2010 verdict.
In August 2015, the Swedish High Prosecutor’s Office said three charges against Assange had been dropped due to the expiry of the statute of limitations, and that Assange would still be held suspect on the allegation of lesser degree rape until August 17, 2020.
Members of Assange’s defense team claim that all charges against their client are allegedly politically motivated and had been brought up at the request of certain quarters because Assange’s activities, including the publication of classified diplomatic correspondence, had drawn the ire of many countries, especially the United States.
In late 2015, Sweden and Ecuador enacted a bilateral legal assistance treaty making it possible to question the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
On February 5, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled in Assange’s favor, called for his release and urged that he be reimbursed. Swedish and UK authorities disagreed with the Group’s decision. The Swedish High Prosecutor’s Office also noted that, under national legislation, the Working Group’s opinion had no formal significance for the ongoing preliminary investigation.
On August 11, the media said the National Public Prosecutor’s Office of Ecuador had agreed to Assange’s questioning by Swedish authorities.
On September 16, the Stockholm Court of Appeals ruled that the 2010 warrant for Assange’s arrest on alleged rape charges remained in force.
On November 14-15, Assange was questioned by an Ecuadorean lawyer at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, in the presence of a Swedish lawyer.
Prosecutors did not go into details citing confidentiality clauses used in Swedish and Ecuadorean legal practice.
In early January 2017, the Swedish Chief Prosecutor’s Office received the Swedish-language transcript of Assange’s interrogation and the Spanish-language transcript has several hundred pages.