Swedish court rejects prosecution request for Assange detention

A Swedish court has rejected a request from prosecutors for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be detained in his absence.

Prosecutors had said they would issue a European Arrest Warrant if the request had been granted, but Uppsala District Court rejected the request on Monday.

An investigation has been reopened into an allegation of rape in Sweden, which Assange has always denied.

He is serving a 50-week prison sentence in London after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in April and jailed for a bail violation.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange

He also faces an extradition request from the US on allegations of spying.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, 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. I will also issue a European Investigation Order in order to interview Julian Assange. No date has been set yet. We will constantly review the state of the investigation.”

The editor of WikiLeaks said comments by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that he would not block Assange’s extradition to the US proves the Australian has no chance of “fair and impartial treatment” by the UK authorities.

Mr Hunt said in a US TV interview on Sunday that what has happened to Assange in recent weeks – being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London and jailed for a bail violation – was “the right thing”.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said: “In an interview timed for President (Donald) Trump’s arrival to the UK, a grinning UK Foreign Secretary pledged WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States will go ahead if he becomes the next prime minister.

“The Foreign Secretary incorrectly stated that the ‘very serious crimes’ for which Assange has been indicted are ‘alleged to have led to people’s deaths’, even though there is no such allegation.”

Mr Hrafnsson said the latest comments follow Mr Hunt’s “insulting dismissal” of UN special rapporteur on torture Professor Nils Melzer, who on Friday appealed to the UK Government not to extradite Assange to the US or to any other state because he would not receive a fair trial.

“Hunt’s dismissal showed once again that Mr Assange has no chance of fair and impartial treatment at the hands of UK authorities.”