Questions written by Swedish prosecutors will be presented to Assange through an Ecuadorian prosecutor at Ecuador’s London embassy, as part an arrangement agreed in August. Swedish prosecutors are also hoping to secure a DNA sample, which could go a long way in the progressing police investigation.
In 2010, Swedish authorities issued an international arrest warrant after two women accused the 45-year-old Australian of sexual misconduct. One of the women accused Assange of intentionally ripping a condom and holding her down by her arms and legs, while the other woman said he had sex with her without a condom while she was asleep. Swedish law forbids engaging in sex with a person who is sleeping, intoxicated, or unconscious, and a person found guilty of doing so could face charges of rape.
Assange has not been indicted and has always denied the allegations.
The WikiLeaks founder has refused to face questioning in Sweden, fearing that traveling to that country would ultimately result in an extradition to the United States, where his work at WikiLeaks faces legal scrutiny. At the time, four years ago, Assange appealed to Ecuador for asylum. He has been living in the London embassy since 2012.
Supporters and journalists gathered outside the embassy building Monday morning as the prosecutors arrived. According to the Associated Press, Assange’s Swedish lawyer expressed “high hopes” that the case would be quickly closed following the day’s events.
Swedish Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren reportedly spent four hours in the Ecuadorian embassy. Officials are not expected to make any public statements after the interview, but it won’t be long before the implications are heard.
— Hugh Whitfeld (@hughwhitfeld) November 14, 2016
— Katie Engelhart (@katieengelhart) November 14, 2016
If Sweden drops its investigation, Assange may still face charges for violating conditions of his bail in the U.K.