Sweden to hold detention hearing for Assange on rape allegation





Stockholm (dpa) - A Swedish court is set to hear a request that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be detained in absentia on suspicion of rape, amid reports that he is ill.



Deputy chief prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said that if the Uppsala district court approved the request on Monday, she would issue a European Arrest Warrant concerning his surrender to Sweden.
Persson recently announced that Sweden was to reopen a preliminary rape investigation into Assange that was dropped in 2017.
The request to reopen the probe was submitted on April 11 by the attorney of a woman who alleges she was raped by Assange during a 2010 visit to Sweden. Assange has denied the allegation.
The Uppsala court recently rejected a request by Assange's Swedish defence attorney, Per E Samuelsson, to postpone the hearing.
Samuelson said he was unable to conduct a proper conversation with Assange during a recent visit to the London prison where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.
The 47-year-old Australian is reported to be in the health ward of London's Belmarsh Prison.
Assange did not take part in an extradition hearing via video-link from Belmarsh Prison on Thursday regarding a US request, due to undisclosed health reasons.
Washington has accused Assange of conspiring with former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.
Nils Melzer, the UN rapporteur on torture, on Friday said Assange shows "obvious" signs of the psychological torture inflicted on him due to years of confinement and persecution. His assessment came after a visit he made to Assange in early May.

Monday, June 3rd 2019
(dpa)
           


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