Julian Assange: Sweden considers reviving rape inquiry

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

When Julian Assange learned of his imminent arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Thursday, he wasn't even allowed to go back to his room, because authorities feared he would hit a reported "panic button" with potentially disastrous effects, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said.

What will happen next for Assange is still uncertain, as he begins to fight extradition to the United States.

But will it? But by going out of its way to charge him only under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the US government seems to indicate it did not want to set a risky precedent.

The United Nations called for Assange's right to a fair trial to be respected during any extradition process.

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed an indictment after Assange's arrest that reveals the extradition request officially comes "in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion".

First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told CNN's Brian Stelter, "It seems to me that the government has used significant restraint in making only this single rather unique charge against Assange and the ultimate impact on the press may thus be limited".

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Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador's former chancellor under the Correa regime, was an Assange defender, and Romo claimed a WikiLeaks staffer "works closely and has traveled with Ricardo Patiño to Peru, Spain, and Russian Federation".

While the "feces" allegation was not the only strike against Assange - he was also accused of meddling in Ecuador's political affairs to influence the country's government - but his conduct as a guest at the embassy certainly did not help. "The bottom line is he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it's been charged".

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11 in London. The case would be handled by the Swedish Prosecution Authority's Development Center in Gothenburg.

In June 2012, with his legal avenues exhausted, Assange finally faced extradition to Sweden. That's striking since Assange and WikiLeaks have surfaced, albeit obliquely and not by name, in multiple criminal cases brought by Mueller.

For Swedish prosecutors, there was little to do with Assange outside of the reach of British police due to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which says law enforcement officers of a host country can not enter an embassy or consulate without permission. One was involved in organizing an event for Sweden's center-left Social Democratic Party and offered to host Assange at her apartment.

Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange in 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of the allegations - a necessary step in proceeding with the case - while he remained in the Ecuadorian embassy. In Ecuador, the interior ministry announced that it had arrested a "close collaborator" of Assange at Quito's airport as he was preparing to fly to Japan on Thursday. Assange ultimately requested more information related to the password, telling Manning that while he had tried to crack it, he "had no luck so far".

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