Julian Assange agrees to meet with Swedish prosecutors in UK

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Story highlights

  • The WikiLeaks founder is wanted for questioning over sexual abuse claims; he denies the allegations
  • Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012

(CNN)WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors in London, his lawyer in Sweden told CNN.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about 2010 allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another.
    According to the lawyer, Thomas Olsson, Swedish prosecutors will now have to reach out to British and Ecuadorian authorities to request permission to conduct the interview at the embassy.
    The prosecutors previously balked at coming to Britain to question Assange.
    However, some of the alleged crimes will be subject to a statute of limitations in August 2015, according to a statement from Marianne Ny, the director of public prosecutions.
    Ny explained the logic behind the Swedish authorities' change of approach in her statement.
    "My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in Sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future," Ny said.
    "This assessment remains unchanged. Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies to the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward, particularly as there are no other measures on offer without Assange being present in Sweden."
    The Australian national has not been charged and denies the claims. Assange has said he fears Sweden would extradite him to the United States, where he could face the death penalty if he is charged and convicted of publishing government secrets through WikiLeaks.
    Ecuador granted Assange political asylum in 2012.