Swedish prosecutors have asked to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London, where he has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, according to multiple reports.
Prosecuting authorities in Sweden wish to question Assange in connection with allegations of rape stemming from a 2010 incident in the country. In addition, they have also requested a DNA sample, Reuters reported.
“If Assange gives his consent, the prosecutor will promptly submit a request for legal assistance to the British authorities to further continue the investigation,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement.
Prosecutors had previously refused to travel to London, but have changed their position as the crimes Assange is accused of will reach their statute of limitations in August 2015, lead prosecutor Marianne Ny told the Associated Press.
A lawyer for Assange, Per Samuelson, welcomed the development. "This is something we've demanded for over four years," the BBC quoted him as saying.
Assange, who was the mastermind behind Wikileaks' disclosure of thousands of classified U.S. government documents, claims that if he is extradited to Sweden from the U.K., he faces further extradition to the U.S. Consequently, in the U.S., he could be tried over the leak of classified document that has seen former Army Private Chelsea Manning (previously Bradley Manning) sentenced to a 35-year prison term.
Assange denies the allegations and hasn’t been charged with any offense. If he leaves Ecuador's London embassy, he faces arrest by British authorities, who have had the facility under constant surveillance since 2012.
This is a developing story. Check back for further updates.