news

Sweden to quiz Julian Assange at Knightsbridge Ecuador Embassy in first stand-off breakthrough in years

The Wikileaks founder has taken refuge inside the Ecuador Embassy since 2012

Assange has taken refuse in the Knightsbridge Ecuador Embassy since 2012

Swedish prosecutors wanting to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange regarding rape allegations from 2010 have been granted permission to speak to him.

Mr Assange will be quizzed inside the Knightsbridge embassy where he has taken refuge since 2012.

The 45-year-old is to be questioned about a rape claim made by two women and several other allegations made against him after he visited Sweden.

Ecuador agreed to Sweden's proposal to interview him inside the building last year, but no date was set.

It could be the first major breakthrough in what has been years of a stand-off between countries.

Mr Assange's defence team said it welcomed the steps to take his statement, which it said "comes after six years of complete inaction on the part of the Swedish prosecutor".

There has been little progress in the situation since his asylum, but in February, a UN Panel considering the "unlawful detainment" of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in an embassy in Knightsbridge has ruled in his favour, although police have said they will still arrest him should he leave the embassy.

Assange responds to UN ruling from inside the Ecuadorian Embassy

After three years of guarding the Embassy where he sought political asylum, the Metropolitan Police removed 24-hour-surveillance outside the building in October 2015.

Asylum in the Embassy: The Story of Assange

An Australian national, Assange took asylum in the Embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him over rape allegations.

He was accused of two counts of sexual molestation, unlawful coercion and rape by Swedish prosecutors over events in August 2012.

He was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in December 2010.

But, under Swedish law, an investigation has to close within a certain amount of time after the alleged incident and only the rape charge remains, expiring in 2020.

He fled justice, denied the claims and said, once he was arrested, the US would try him over leaks of state secrets by his website.

View full mobile page