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CRIME

Swedish prosecutor urged to reopen rape investigation into Julian Assange

The lawyer of the Swedish woman who accused Julian Assange of rape in 2010 said on Thursday she and her client would ask Swedish prosecutors to reopen the investigation which was dropped in 2017.

Swedish prosecutor urged to reopen rape investigation into Julian Assange
Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London following his arrest. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA via AP/TT

 “We will do everything we can to get the prosecutors to reopen the Swedish investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape. As long as the statute of limitations has not expired my client has hope for restitution,” lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz told AFP. 

Sweden's director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny decided in May 2017 to shut a preliminary investigation into the rape allegations. 

She argued that since Assange could not be reached after taking up residence in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, it was not possible to proceed with the probe. Ny also said that if Assange were to become available again, prosecutors could decide to reopen the investigation.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said on Thursday that it had learned of Assange's arrest from media reports.

“This is news to us too, so we have not been able to take a position on the information that is now available. We also do not know why he is under arrest. We are following the developments,” said Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren in a statement.

The statement continued: “A preliminary investigation can be resumed as long as the suspected crime is not subject to statute of limitation. In this case, the suspected crime of rape would be subject to statute of limitation in mid-August 2020.”

The Swedish accusation against Assange dates from August 2010 when the  alleged victim, who says she met him at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm a few days earlier, filed a complaint.

She accused him of having sex with her — as she slept — without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.

Assange has always denied the allegations, which he feared would lead to him being extradited to the United States and facing trial over the leak of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents in 2010, which brought WikiLeaks to prominence. 

TIMELINE: The key points in the Julian Assange case

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CRIME

Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

Connected cars are increasingly exposed to security threats. Therefore, a major government initiative is now being launched via the research institute Rise.

Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

More and more technical gadgets are now connected to the internet, and cars are no exception. However, the new reality raises questions about security, and from the Swedish side, an initiative is now being launched to combat cybercrime in the car industry through the government research institute Rise.

“We see a great need (for action), in regards to cyber-attacks in general and solving challenges related to the automotive industry’s drive to make cars more and more connected, and in the long run, perhaps even self-driving,” Rise chief Pia Sandvik stated.

Modern cars now have functions that allow car manufacturers to send out software updates exactly the same way as with mobile phones.

In addition to driving data, a connected car can also collect and pass on technical information about the vehicle.

Nightmare scenario

However, all this has raised questions about risks and the worst nightmare scenario in which someone could be able to take over and remotely operate a connected car.

Sandvik points out that, generally speaking, challenges are not only related to car safety but also to the fact that the vehicle can be a gateway for various actors to get additional information about car owners.

“If you want to gain access to information or cause damage, you can use different systems, and connected vehicles are one such system. Therefore, it is important to be able to test and see if you have robust and resilient systems in place,” she said.

Ethical hackers

Initially, about 15 employees at Rise will work on what is described as “Europe’s most advanced cyber security work” regarding the automotive industry.

Among the employees, there are also so-called “ethical hackers”, i.e., people who have been recruited specifically to test the systems.

“These are hackers who are really good at getting into systems, but not with the aim of inflicting damage, but to help and contribute to better solutions,” Sandvik noted.

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