Sweden to reopen preliminary investigation into Julian Assange rape allegation

Sweden's Vice Chief Prosecutor Eva Marie Persson said a preliminary investigation would be reopened

The WikiLeaks founder was this month bundled out of the Ecuadorean embassy where he had been holed up since 2012 - when he sought refuge, breaking his bail conditions, from an earlier European Arrest Warrant from Sweden.

"There is still probable cause to suspect that Mr. Assange committed rape", Swedish prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said at a Monday press conference.

Persson said she hoped Assange could be questioned again in the case.

The announcement leaves British authorities to weigh whether to extradite Assange to the Scandinavian country or to the U.S., where Assange faces charges related to his role in the release of thousands of secret government documents stolen and provided to WikiLeaks by former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Sixth, Assange left Sweden after the prosecutor told him that he was free to leave as he was not wanted for questioning.

"This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name", Hrafnsson said.

People hold signs during a protest outside Southwark Crown Court where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be sentenced, in London, Britain, May 1, 2019.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces a reopened Swedish rape investigation.

Meanwhile the USA is also seeking to extradite the whistleblower on charges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack a Pentagon computer and steal state secrets.

"I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the United Kingdom and that he could be extradited to the US", Persson said.

Prosecutors add they will file an extradition order should the court find grounds to detain him in absentia.

Fritz said the decision to reopen the inquiry showed that "no one is above the law, not even if their name is Julian Assange".

Assange's Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelsson, told The New York Times that Sweden's decision is "not proportionate", saying, "He has been sentenced to 50 weeks".

A USA indictment charges him with "conspiracy" for working with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

- December 2010: Assange surrenders to police in London and is detained pending extradition hearing.

Acknowledging that the U.S.is now seeking Assange's extradition, Persson added that it will be up to British authorities to determine how to prioritize multiple requests for Assange's extradition and/or arrest.

But the U.S. also wants to extradite Assange over his publishing of leaked military videos showing the killing of civilians in Iraq. "I will continue to support him in whatever way I can", the Duchess said.

His eviction from the embassy on 11 April came after a souring of relations, with Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno claiming the Australian had tried to use the Knightsbridge site for spying.

However, since his arrest last month, a lawyer for the two Swedish women has asked that their cases be reopened, reported the Times. One wrote that "it was the police who made up the charges" and told a friend that she felt that she had been "railroaded by police and others around her".

"In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority", a Swedish prosecutor's statement said.

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