Uppsala: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won a major legal victory as a Swedish court denied a request to detain him over a sexual assault investigation dating back to 2010.
The ruling by the Uppsala District Court on Monday is a setback for prosecutors who were hoping to issue a European Arrest Warrant for Assange and request his extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden.
The court agreed with prosecutors that Assange could pose a flight risk, but said detention would not be proportionate, CNN reported.
The Swedish rape investigation was the reason main reason why Julian Assange had spent almost seven years in self-imposed exile in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. The WikiLeaks founder walked into the building in June 2012, soon after losing a long drawn extradition battle in the UK’s Supreme Court.
He continued to stay there until April of 2019, when his dramatic arrest prompted Swedish prosecutors to reopen the investigation last month. The investigation into the alleged rape was suspended in 2017 because of Assange’s continued residence in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Assange’s lawyer, Per E Samuelson, said on Monday that his client denied the accusations and also argued that detention would be disproportionate. He added that Assange “has always wanted to cooperate” with the investigation.