Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Assange’s Embassy Questioning is First Step to Freedom

Prosecutors questioned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London Monday in a move that could end a long diplomatic deadlock that has kept the whistleblower holed up in the embassy for four years. Swedish chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren reportedly spent four hours in the embassy after arriving Monday, where she presented questions through Ecuadorean prosecutor Wilson Toainga. The interview over allegations that Assange committed rape in 2010 was announced last week by the Swedish prosecution office and could end the impasse that has pushed the WikiLeaks founder to seek refuge in the embassy since 2012. Isgren left the embassy without offering comments about the questioning. Last week Assange welcomed the news through his lawyer, saying he was looking forward to the “chance to clear his name.” WikiLeaks has said that Sweden’s procrastination in the face of Assange and Ecuador’s long-standing openness to conduct the interview in the London embassy has denied Assange the right to clear his name. In February, a U.N. panel said his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy equaled arbitrary detention, that he should be allowed to leave and be awarded compensation. Making sure Assange did not escape from the Ecuadorian embassy has been an operation that has cost the U.K. police over US$18 million.



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