Ecuador and Sweden look to end Assange saga

Swedish officials say they are optimistic about reaching agreement with Ecuador on legal assistance which could pave the way to questioning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London on outstanding accusations against him.

Last month, prosecutors dropped cases of sexual misconduct against the 44-year-old Australian, who has avoided extradition to Sweden by sheltering in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, but say they want to question him about accusations of rape made after his visit to the Scandinavian country five years ago.

Justice ministry spokeswoman Cecilia Riddselius said talks between Swedish and Ecuadorean officials had been “very good, very constructive” and could lead to a general agreement on legal co-operation “in time for Christmas”.

Assange denies all accusations against him and has welcomed being questioned at the London embassy.

Last week, Assange said he fears he may be assassinated if he steps outside the Ecuadorian embassy. In an interview with The Times Magazine, Assange said he has not had any fresh air or sunlight for three years because it is too dangerous to leave the building.

Assange told the magazine: “There are security issues with being on the balcony. There have been bomb threats and assassination threats from various people.”


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