News World Assange: rape claims resurface

Assange: rape claims resurface

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Australian Julian Assange could face questioning within days over long-standing rape allegations against him after Ecuador and Sweden signed an agreement over the issue.

Negotiations began in June and the agreement was reached on Thursday, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that it will enter into force “in the coming days.”

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Assange, an Australian citizen, sought refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012 after losing a long battle in the British courts to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Assange, who denies the accusations, has said that once he is in Swedish custody, US prosecutors will indict him for espionage and Washington will pressure Stockholm into handing him over.

Politicians in the United States have called for Assange to be prosecuted after his WikiLeaks website disseminated thousands of US diplomatic cables as well as a video that showed an American military helicopter crew killing a press photographer and several other civilians in Iraq.

The statute of limitations on unlawful coercion and sexual molestation allegations against Assange expired in August.

But a fourth accusation of rape, which like the others stemmed from Assange’s encounters with two women in Sweden in 2010, will not expire until 2020.