Sweden and Ecuador discuss Assange

Officials from Sweden and Ecuador have met to discuss an agreement on “legal assistance” in criminal cases, which could have implications for the long-running stand off involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


Sweden has proposed an agreement similar to those it has with other countries, said Cecilia Riddselius of the Swedish Justice Ministry.

“It will serve as a bridge between our two legal systems,” she told DPA.

Assange is wanted for questioning by Swedish authorities in relation to a suspected rape in 2010, an allegation he denies.

The 44-year-old Australian fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012 after he lost a legal battle in Britain against extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador then granted Assange asylum after he said he feared extradition to the United States, where he is wanted in connection with WikiLeaks’ publication of top secret diplomatic cables.

A possible agreement between Sweden and Ecuador could contribute to movement on a request by Swedish prosecutors to interview Assange in London.

Three cases of alleged sexual assault against Assange were recently dropped due to a Swedish statute of limitations, but the rape allegation remains.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks asserted on Monday that it was not involved in the planning of a secret trip that former US National Security contractor Edward Snowden allegedly wanted to make from Russia to Bolivia aboard a Bolivian presidential aircraft in 2013.

The website said statements Assange made to the Bolivian newspaper El Deber were incorrectly translated.

There was no conversation between Wikileaks representatives and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro about flying Snowden secretly from Moscow on Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane, Wikileaks said.

Wikileaks also at no time had knowledge of such a plan.

El Deber reported Sunday after interviewing Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London that Wikileaks representatives discussed the plan with the Venezuelan government.

The plan was abandoned when it became clear that European governments would not grant permission for Morales’ plane to pass through their airspace, the report says.

El Deber stood by its story when contacted by DPA.

It said the English recording of the conversation with Assange matches the Spanish version exactly.

Maduro and Morales participated in an international conference in Moscow in July 2013.

At the time Snowden was hold up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

Morales’ plane was forced to land in Vienna on its way back to Bolivia and only allowed to depart when authorities were sure Snowden wasn’t on board.