Sweden to reopen preliminary investigation into Julian Assange rape allegation

Julian Assange is taken from court where he appeared on charges of skipping bail seven years ago

Reopening the investigation became an option after Assange was arrested on April 11 in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been holed up for almost seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden to face the sexual assault accusations against him.

The Ecuadorian government will pass to Washington documents of WikiLeaks founder Assange that are now kept in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange was residing from 2012 and until his arrest in April, according to El Pais newspaper.

A lawyer for one of the women involved in the Swedish allegations subsequently asked for the investigation to be resumed.

Sweden's Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson confirmed the case will be re-opened at a press conference in Stockholm.

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His release, and the decision to reopen the inquiry, is likely to raise the question of which extradition request should take precedence: that of Sweden or the US.

Australian-born Assange faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the US.

He is now housed in Belmarsh prison, after being convicted of breaching bail conditions.

The U.S. has also begun extradition proceedings for Assange's alleged role in leaking diplomatic and military secrets in 2010.

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What is the Swedish investigation about?

"An arrest warrant was issued and Julian Assange was declared an internationally wanted suspect" in November 2010, added Persson. Assange has denied wrongdoing, asserting that they were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual.

Neither of the alleged victims has been named publicly. The court heard that the extradition process would take "many months". Assange unsuccessfully fought through the British courts to get the extradition order and preliminary investigation dropped.

But he said Assange may be able to argue that his likely treatment in the United States prison system would breach his human rights and that could not receive a fair trial due to his notoriety and links to political scandals.

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