A Swedish court has rejected a request for Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to be detained, complicating the process of extraditing him from the UK to face an allegation of rape.
Uppsala District Court today (June 3) ruled against a request to order the detention of Mr Assange in absentia, who remains in Belmarsh prison in the UK, which would have been the first step towards extraditing him to Sweden.
The Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson last month re-opened an investigation into rape allegations against Mr Assange, which he denies, following his eviction from the Ecuadorean Embassy.
Reacting to the Judge’s decision, Ms Persson said: “I fully respect the court’s decision. They had to take a position on a difficult assessment issue, which I considered should be examined by a court.
“The investigation continues with interviews in Sweden.”
Ms Persson previously said she intended to issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to apply for Mr Assange’s extradition, were the court to have granted her detention request.
Mr Assange also faces possible extradition to the US after he was charged with an 18 count indictment last month, including 17 charges relating to the Espionage Act.
What Does This Mean For Assange?
Ms Persson confirmed that she will issue a European Investigation Order in order to interview Julian Assange in Britain, with no date currently set.
“There was an attempt to do this whilst he was in the Ecuadorean embassy but ultimately it didn’t work out,” human rights barrister Dan Sternberg, of Temple Garden Chambers, told RightsInfo.
The extradition specialist said: “This might allow the prosecutor to make progress in the case and try to obtain an EAW again once an interview has taken place, or attempts to arrange it have failed.”
He added: “As far as the UK is concerned there, is only one live extradition request at the moment [the US one].
“Should the Sweden issue a EAW, the Home Secretary would have to decide which case takes priority, but that stage hasn’t been reached yet.”