Ecuador and Sweden have sealed an agreement that will allow Swedish authorities to question Julian Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in West London.
The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at the embassy for more than three years.
Back in August, Swedish prosecutors said they would drop the investigation into two allegations of sexual assault and one of unlawful coercion as the statute of limitations had run out. There is still one outstanding allegation of rape, which Assange will still be questioned about.
The agreement was signed in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, after six months of negotiations.
“It is, without doubt, an instrument that strengthens bilateral relations and will facilitate, for example, the fulfillment of judicial matters such as the questioning of Mr Assange,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“This is essentially a deal on legal assistance on a criminal matter, and when it is finalised later this week it will open the door for the Swedish state prosecutor to question Mr Assange,” Swedish Justice Ministry official Cecilia Riddselius told AFP on Sunday.
The UK has already agreed to provide legal assistance for the questioning, which may take place in the coming weeks.
Assange has been stuck inside the Ecuadorian embassy since he took refuge there in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. He was granted asylum by the Quito government over fears that the Australian might eventually be extradited to the United States.
In Sweden, Assange is wanted for questioning by the authorities regarding allegations of sexual assault against two women in 2010, which he has always denied. Assange fears that if he goes to Sweden he will eventually face tribunal in the US for publishing classified documents through Wikileaks. Sweden has refused to guarantee that this would not happen.
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