Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is expected to face questioning by Swedish authorities “in the coming days” after Ecuador and Sweden signed a bilateral deal on Thursday.
The agreement between Quito and Stockholm will ease “judicial procedures such as the questioning of Mr. Assange” and provide Swedish authorities with access to Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy to investigate rape allegations against the Australian hacker dating back to 2010.
“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 Mr Assange, isolated in the Ecuadorian embassy in London,” the statement by the Ecuadorian government statement read.
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after losing a legal battle in British courts to avoid being extradited to Sweden.
The 44-year-old Australian activist currently faces house arrest if he attempts to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with earlier reports revealing that Assange feared being kidnapped or “droned” by the CIA if he left the premises.
European news site The Local even reported that Assange had tried to seek political asylum in France after writing a letter to French President Francois Hollande. Assange allegedly wrote that he had “never been formally charged with an offence or a common crime” and that “by welcoming me, it would be a humanitarian gesture by France”.
Assange has denied the current rape allegations against him, which will expire in 2020 under Sweden’s statute of limitations. If placed in Swedish custody, Assange fears the possibility that US prosecutors will indict him for espionage.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.