Updated 10:40 AM EDT, Wed, Apr 21, 2021

Ecuador Announces Cooperation with Swedish Prosecutors in Julian Assange Case

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Ecuador has assured its cooperation over Swedish prosecutors' formal request to interrogate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his location in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"We will cooperate with the Swedish authorities so they can take some statements. We have said that from the beginning," said Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño in an interview, as reported by teleSUR.

Patiño added that the interrogation would occur under Ecuador's law because Assange, who faces a rape allegation, is under the country's jurisdiction. He noted that he didn't know "exactly what the procedure is," but that Ecuadorian prosecutors would conduct the questioning, according to Inquirer.net. Swedish prosecutors could also be present.

Patiño also questioned what is taking "so long" for Swedish authorities to agree to interrogate Assange under Ecuador's law, adding that Sweden's hesitancy has fueled "suspicions," Inquirer.net reported.

The 44-year-old Australian has been staying in Ecuador's embassy since 2012. Prosecutors want to question Assange on a rape accusation that allegedly occurred in 2010. However, he has refused to travel to Sweden because he fears that he would be extradited to the United States and face a trial over WikiLeaks' publication of hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, Yahoo! News reported.

Last August, Sweden's prosecutors dropped their investigation of Assange's alleged sexual assault due to the expiration of the five-year limitation on bringing charges, teleSUR noted. The 2010 rape allegation, however, is still present because it carries a 10-year statute of limitations

Assange, meanwhile, has denied the sexual assault and rape allegations, insisting that the sexual encounters were consensual and claimed that the accusations are all false and part of a smear campaign to jumpstart his extradition to the U.S. to face trial for WikiLeaks' whistle blowing, the news outlet added. The classified information WikiLeaks' revealed exposed the whole extent of U.S. military abuses carried out during the Iraq and Afghanistan War.

WikiLeaks, which launched in 2006, has also published a procedures manual for Camp Delta, the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay. The 400,000 classified military documents from the Iraq and Afghanistan War indicated how many Iraqi civilians were killed, "the role that Iran has played in supporting Iraqi militants," and plenty of "accounts of abuse by Iraq's army and police," CNN listed.

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks' Twitter page insisted that Sweden is carrying out "an illegal PR war" against Assange.

Swedish authorities offered to question Assange in London last March, Inquirer.net further reported. But Ecuador's capital, Quito, refused to agree to an interrogation until the two countries signed an accord on general legal cooperation, which they finally accomplished in December.

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