Julian Assange remains subject to a Swedish arrest warrant, the country’s authorities have confirmed.
In an interview with Sweden’s Expressen, Sweden’s Attorney-General Anders Perklev insisted that the matter involving allegations by two women of sexual assault by Assange was being handled “entirely under Swedish law”. He also insisted that the Australian WikiLeaks founder’s global notoriety had no bearing on the case.
In March, Sweden’s Supreme Court granted Assange an appeal hearing to Assange in his attempt to repeal the arrest warrant. His lawyers argue that as Sweden’s authorities have refused to interview him at the Columbian embassy in London – where he has been holed up in exile for almost three years – they have failed to progress the case as per their responsibility.
Upon this, the Swedish prosecutor heading the Assange case, Marianne Ny reversed her stance, saying she would now interview the Wikileaks fugitive in London.
However, Attorney-General Perklev told Expressen that he believed the Swedish High Court would uphold the arrest warrant. He also suggested interviewing Assange at the embassy in London involved “limitations”.
“You cannot come back and make further questioning, and there may be conditions on which questions they may ask,” he said.
He admitted though, that interviewing the Australians was “the only measure that remains” in forwarding the investigation.
According to Fairfax, though, Assange’s lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, said that his client will now only submit to the interview once his legal team have full access to the Swedish investigation files.
“We need to be provided access to the entirety of the proceedings, which for four-and-a-half years has been in the hands of the Swedish prosecution and not in the hands of the defence,” Mr Garzon said, adding that Assange would remain at the embassy unless he was guaranteed free passage to Ecuador by the UK government.
He said Mr Assange would remain in the Ecuadorian embassy until the British government granted him safe passage to Ecuador.
Julian Assange has since 2010 denied the allegations of sexual assault, made by two Swedish women, and has refused to travel to Sweden to face the accusations on the grounds that doing so would facilitate his extradition to the USA.
A US court confirmed in March that Julian Assange is still being investigated by the Department of Justice and FBI, relating to espionage, conspiracy, theft of US government property and computer fraud.
IMAGE: Julian Assange, on screen. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)