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Sweden Request Detention for Assange   05/20 06:20

   COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Swedish authorities on Monday issued a request 
for a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now 
jailed in Britain, a Swedish prosecutor said.

   Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson says if the Swedish court decided to detain 
Assange "on probable cause suspected for rape ... I will issue a European 
Arrest Warrant."

   The development sets up a possible future tug-of-war between Sweden and the 
United States over any extradition of Assange from Britain.

   Assange was evicted last month from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been 
holed up with political asylum since 2012. He was then immediately arrested by 
British police on April 11 and is currently serving a 50-week sentence in 
Britain for jumping bail in 2012.

   The Australian secret-spiller also faces a U.S. extradition warrant for 
allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.

   Persson said Monday that British authorities will decide any conflict 
between a European arrest warrant and U.S. extradition request for Assange.

   On May 13, Swedish prosecutors reopened a preliminary investigation against 
Assange, who visited Sweden in 2010, after two Swedish women said they were the 
victims of sex crimes committed by Assange.

   While a case of alleged sexual misconduct against Assange in Sweden was 
dropped in 2017 when the statute of limitations expired, a rape allegation 
remains. Swedish authorities have had to shelf it because Assange was living at 
the embassy at the time and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden.

   The statute of limitations in the rape case expires in August next year. 
Assange has denied wrongdoing, asserting that the allegations were politically 
motivated and that the sex was consensual.

   According to the request for a detention order obtained by The Associated 
Press, Assange is wanted for "intentionally having carried out an intercourse" 
with an unnamed woman "by unduly exploiting that she was in a helpless state 
because of sleep."

   The request added there was "an aggravating circumstance" because Assange 
didn't use a condom.

   The 47-year-old Australian met the two Swedish woman in connection with a 
lecture in August 2010 in Stockholm. One was involved in organizing an event 
for Sweden's center-left Social Democratic Party and offered to host Assange at 
her apartment. The other was in the audience.

   A police officer who heard the women's accounts decided there was reason to 
suspect they were victims of sex crimes and handed the case to a prosecutor. 
Neither of the alleged victims has been named publicly.

   Assange faces a maximum of four years in prison in Sweden if he is convicted 
of the rape.

   Persson said the day and time for the detention hearing regarding Assange at 
the Uppsala District Court north of Stockholm that will make the decision has 
not yet been decided.

   "However, in my view, the Swedish case can proceed concurrently with the 
proceedings in the U.K.," Persson said in a statement.


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