Europe

Sweden grants Julian Assange appeal over rape allegation

Julian Assange - August 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost three years

Sweden's supreme court has granted Julian Assange the right to appeal against an arrest warrant for an alleged rape.

The Wikileaks founder has been living inside Ecuador's embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition.

Prosecutors in Sweden want to question him over allegations of rape dating back to 2010, which he denies.

Mr Assange claims extradition to Sweden would allow the US to charge him over leaks of classified documents.

A previous appeal by Mr Assange was dismissed by Sweden's appeals court in November last year, but the supreme court has now awarded him the right to appeal.

The announcement follows a surprise reversal by Swedish prosecutors, who last month agreed to travel to London to question Mr Assange after insisting for years he must travel to Sweden.

The 43-year-old Australian has been living in a small suite of rooms in the Ecuadorian embassy since requesting asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition.

Mr Assange denies the allegations, made by two women he met during a trip to Sweden in August 2010. He claims they are part of a plot to extradite him to the US because of Wikileaks' publication of thousands of classified US documents.

But the former computer hacker has not been charged with any crime in the US and the country has not issued the UK with an extradition request.

"The Supreme Court grants leave to appeal in the matter regarding the arrest," the Swedish court said in statement on Tuesday.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Mr Assange co-founded Wikileaks in 2006.

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