Julian Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for so long that several sex allegations against him are about to expire.
The Wikileaks founder has been taking refuge in the building for the past three years to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sex crimes in Stockholm. However, the statute of limitations on several of the allegations is about to expire, The Guardian reports.
Two allegations of unlawful coercion will expire on Thursday, as will one of sexual molestation made against him by two Swedish women. Then next Tuesday, a second case of sexual molestation will expire. He has not been charged with any crime.
This doesn’t mean that Assange is about to become a free man, however. He is also wanted for questioning over an allegation of rape, which will not expire until 2020.
Assange’s case has divided critics. Swedish authorities began seeking Assange for questioning in 2010, and, following a legal battle, he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid what he claims are politically motivated allegations. Many argue that he should travel to Sweden to answer for his alleged actions, while others are sympathetic to his argument that the questioning would be a precursor to extradition to the United States to face trial for his work on Wikileaks.
The 44-year-old Australian leads Wikileaks, an influential whistleblowing website whose past leaks include the “Collateral Murder” video and a huge collection of US State Department diplomatic cables.
As of February 2015, Assange’s residency in the Ecuadorian Embassy had cost Britain £10 million, according to an Independent report at the time. Ecuador and Sweden are currently attempting to bring the impasse to an end after a multi-year standoff.
Previously, Swedish investigators had insisted that Assange travel to Sweden for questioning. But in an about-face, they now say they are prepared to interview him while still inside the embassy. The two countries are currently in negotiations as to how that might take place.
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