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Swedish court schedules Assange detention hearing for June 3rd

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Swedish court schedules Assange detention hearing for June 3rd
Julian Assange following a court hearing in London in 2019. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham
16:44 CEST+02:00
A court in Uppsala on Tuesday announced its decision to hold a detention hearing for Julian Assange on June 3rd. This is the first step towards seeking extradition of the WikiLeaks founder from Britain to Sweden, where he is suspected of rape.

The Uppsala district court said it had taken "both the requirement of a speedy procedure and the right for the suspect to prepare his defence" into consideration when setting the hearing date.

Swedish deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson on Monday filed a request with the court to have Assange, currently imprisoned in Britain, detained in his absence over a 2010 rape allegation.

Detaining someone in their absence is a standard part of Swedish legal procedure if a suspect is outside the country or cannot be located.

TIMELINE: The key points in the Julian Assange case

The Australian whistleblower, who holed himself up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for seven years to avoid a British extradition order to Sweden, was arrested by British police on April 11th after Ecuador gave him up.

He was subsequently sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching bail conditions when he took refuge in the embassy.

Following his arrest, Swedish authorities last week decided to reopen a 2010 rape investigation, which had been closed in 2017 when Sweden's then director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny argued that since Assange could not be reached, it was not possible to proceed with the probe.

If the Swedish court grants the request for a detention order, Persson has said she plans to issue a European Arrest Warrant for Assange and request his transfer to Sweden.

Assange is already the subject of an extradition request from the United States, where he is accused of hacking. Persson said it would be up to British authorities to decide which country's request should take precedence. 

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