World

Julian Assange to face questioning next week over rape allegation

Julian Assange to face questioning next week over rape allegation

Stockholm: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be questioned on November 14 in the Ecuadorian embassy in London over an allegation of rape, Sweden’s public prosecutor’s office has confirmed.

Assange, who has been holed up in the embassy since 2012, welcomed the news through his lawyer, saying he was looking forward to the “chance to clear his name”, the Guardian reported.

The Swedish authorities said one of the prosecutors on the case, Ingrid Isgren, as well as a Swedish police inspector, would also attend the questioning next week and report the findings to Sweden.

“A DNA sample will also be taken, provided that Julian Assange agrees to it,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The whistleblower sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in June 2012, fleeing allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden dating back to 2010. Assange, 45, denies the claims.

The Australian national claims he refused to travel to Sweden for questioning because he feared extradition to the US over WikiLeaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We have requested this interview repeatedly since 2010,” his lawyer, Per Samuelsson, said. “Julian Assange has always wanted to tell his version to the Swedish police. He wants a chance to clear his name. We hope the investigation will be closed then.”

WikiLeaks has returned to the spotlight in recent weeks with the damaging leak of tens of thousands of e-mails from the US Democratic party and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

–IANS