Assange interrogation postponed: Ecuador prosecutors

Assange interrogation postponed: Ecuador prosecutors

QUITO – Agence France-Presse
Assange interrogation postponed: Ecuador prosecutors

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The interrogation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on a Swedish rape accusation has been postponed by a month at his request, Ecuadoran prosecutors said Oct. 12.

The questioning, initially scheduled for Oct. 17, will now take place on Nov. 14 at 10:00 a.m. at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up since June 2012, the national public prosecutors’ office said.

Assange “made the request in a document filed through the Ecuadoran ambassador to the United Kingdom, in which he cited his rights to the protection and defense of his person,” it said in a statement.

The 45-year-old Australian will be interrogated by an Ecuadoran prosecutor, to whom Swedish authorities will submit questions.

Ecuador has said it will also take samples of his bodily fluids if he gives his consent.

Assange, who denies the rape allegation, has refused to travel to Sweden for questioning.

He says he fears Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face trial for the leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

After lengthy diplomatic wrangling, Ecuador, which has granted him asylum, agreed to arrange an interrogation at its embassy.

Swedish prosecutors dropped a sexual assault probe against Assange last year after the five-year statute of limitations expired.

But they still want to question him about a 2010 rape allegation, which carries a 10-year statute of limitations.

Assange insists the sexual encounters in question were consensual.

WikiLeaks has meanwhile returned to the spotlight in recent weeks with the damaging leak of tens of thousands of emails from the U.S. Democratic Party and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.