According to BBC News, Swedish prosecutors decided to reopen Julian Assange’s “rape” investigation on May 13, 2019. This investigation arose fromallegations dating back to 2010 against the Wikileaks founder.
This is the third time that this case has been reopened and is part of a coordinated media effort to sully Assange’s image, whichjournalist John Pilger notes:
For Assange, his only trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation” and immediately – and unlawfully – told the Stockholm tabloids that there was a warrant for Assange’s arrest for the “rape of two women”. This was the news that went round the world.
A month has passed since UK police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The Wikileaks founder has already been hit with a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in the UK. Right now, the UK is preparing to process an extradition request from American prosecutors. However, they must decide if Sweden has a valid claim.
In the past seven years, Assange has avoided extradition to Sweden by hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy. According to RT, Assange initially sought refuge in Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after skipping bail in the UK, claiming that the charges made in Sweden were just a ploy for U.S. authorities to get their hands on him.
Assange has only been charged with one count of attempting to break into a government computer in the U.S. This charge carries a maximum penalty of five-and-a-half years in prison. However, Assange’s lawyers believe that the US government could bring up charges under the Espionage Act, which could come with a death sentence, once Assange is back on U.S. soil.
Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson declared that Sweden has folded to international pressure, claiming that “there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case.”