More than four years after he took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will face questioning there on Nov. 14 over Sweden's allegations against him of sex crimes, including rape.
This could mark a breakthrough in the standoff. Assange has repeatedly denied the accusations, which date to 2010. He maintains that he would face extradition to the U.S. if he appeared in Sweden for questioning, as we reported. Sweden has said an interview is necessary before it can determine whether to file charges against Assange.
Sweden's prosecution authority said in a statement that "Ecuador has granted the Swedish request for legal assistance in criminal matters." It said an Ecuadorean prosecutor will conduct the interview with a Swedish prosecutor and police investigator. They will also take a DNA sample from Assange, should he give his consent.
"I welcome the fact that the investigation can now move forward via an interview with the suspect," Director of Prosecution Marianne Ny said. The prosecutors said they will not release details after they conduct the interview because this is an ongoing investigation.
"Since he took refuge in the embassy, three of four sex-crimes allegations against Assange have expired, due to statutes of limitation," as we have reported. "The fourth allegation, of rape, remains."
A Swedish court upheld the arrest warrant tied to the sexual assault investigations again in September, despite repeated attempts by Assange to overturn it.