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Assange to be questioned at London hideout


London: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be questioned by Swedish authorities at his Ecuadorean embassy hideout here, where he is holed up since June 2012 after being wanted in Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa confirmed that a deal has been struck with Swedish prosecutors that will see Assange face questions over allegations he sexually assaulted two women, without having to leave the diplomatic building.

President Correa said the Swedish authorities will submit questions to Ecuadorian officials, who will then quiz Assange about them, UK media reports said.

Assange, an Australian national, sought political asylum at the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden as he feared being transported to the US to be quizzed over the activities of WikiLeaks that caused considerable harm to the US foreign policy interests.

Assange, 44, is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex assault allegations against two women, which he has always denied.

Negotiations began in June last year between Ecuador’s acting foreign minister Xavier Lasso and the Swedish justice ministry’s international affairs chief Anna-Carin Svensson.

An Ecuadorian government statement had indicated a deal in December 2015: “The agreement, without any doubt, is a tool that strengthens bilateral relations and facilitates, for example, the execution of such legal actions as the questioning of Assange, isolated in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

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