Swedish authorities on Monday filed a request for a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now jailed in the United Kingdom.
Eva-Marie Persson, the country's deputy director of public prosecutors, said in a statement that if the Swedish court decided to detain Assange "on probable cause suspected of rape . . . I will issue a European Arrest Warrant."
The founder of the whistleblower organization is currently in jail in the U.K., where he is serving a 12-month sentence for skipping bail in August 2012 as he fought extradition to Sweden in connection with the same case. Assange has denied the allegations, which also included a second claim of sexual misconduct that can no longer be pursued in criminal court due to the statute of limitations.
The announcement leaves British authorities to weigh whether to extradite Assange to the Scandinavian country or to the U.S., where Assange faces charges related to his role in the release of thousands of secret government documents stolen and provided to WikiLeaks by former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Assange was arrested by British authorities on April 11 and carried out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he sheltered for almost seven years. His arrest came after Ecuador rescinded Assange's asylum claim due to "repeated violations to international conventions and daily life."
"The discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization against Ecuador and especially the transgression of international treaties have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable," Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said at the time.
Moreno's decision to revoke Assange's asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London pointed to a shift in the country's politics since it extended refuge to him and capped a standoff that first began in 2012.
Swedish prosecutors argued that time is of the essence in their investigation because the statute of limitations in the rape case expires in August of 2020.
Fritz said her client was "very grateful and also very hopeful that she'll be able to get a redress."
"She has previously lost faith in Swedish judicial system," she added. "Now she has regained faith."
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief, said reopening the case would give Assange a chance to clear his name.
"Since Julian Assange was arrested on April 11 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation. But there has always been political pressure surrounding this case," he said in a statement. "This investigation has been dropped before, and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name."