Swedish authorities issued a request Monday for the detention in absentia of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is facing rape charges in Sweden and is currently serving jail time in Britain for skipping bail in 2012. Last week, Swedish prosecutors reopened a sexual assault investigation into Assange which was dropped in 2017 because they said the case could not proceed while Assange was holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he lived for seven years before being forcefully removed by British police last month. Assange has denied the accusation, and his lawyer representing him in Sweden said he has not been able to get hold of his client to discuss the detention order. WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has previously said of Sweden’s case, “Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019 there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case. Its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name. This case has been mishandled throughout.” Assange must reportedly serve 25 weeks of his British prison sentence before he can be released. Assange now faces possible extradition to both Sweden and the United States, where he is wanted for the publication of leaked documents by Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning which showed evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq.
In related news, WikiLeaks is reporting that Ecuador will allow U.S. prosecutors to go through and take possession of Assange’s belongings left in their London embassy. Assange reportedly has two manuscripts at his former living quarters; his lawyers have called it an illegal seizure of property.