Swedish police officers will be allowed to interrogate Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder has not left the embassy in the three years since two Swedish women accused him of rape and sexual assault.
Now Assange, Ecuadorian officials and Swedish law enforcement appear to have reached a deal that would allow authorities to question Assange without his leaving the confines of the small building where he has diplomatic immunity. Assange, the primary force behind WikiLeaks, published a massive trove of classified U.S. government documents leaked by then-U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning. Assange, 44, has admitted reluctance to travel to Sweden to answer the sexual assault charge over fears that he would ultimately be extradited to the United States and face trial there.
“Julian Assange's rights need to be respected by Sweden and the United Kingdom,” Baltasar Garzon, coordinator of Assange's defense team, told the BBC Sunday. “These countries have failed to do so until now. Julian Assange's only demands are that his fundamental rights are acknowledged and respected, including the asylum granted to him by Ecuador.”
British officials have repeatedly accused Ecuador of perverting the justice system by allowing Assange to take refuge in the embassy in the heart of London. Scotland Yard maintained a 24 hour police presence outside the embassy until October. Officials still plan to apprehend Assange if he leaves the building, they said, though after 40 months of fruitless efforts they ultimately determined the size of the operation is “no longer proportionate.”