Swedish prosecutors are working on a new request to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The move was announced followed last week’s finding by a United Nations working group that Assange was being “arbitrarily detained” by the UK and Swedish authorities.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a brief statement: “The prosecutor responsible for the case, director of public prosecution Marianne Ny, is currently working on a renewed request to interview Julian Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London.
“A former request was rejected in January by the Prosecutor General of Ecuador.”
The spokesman said last week’s report by the UN panel had not had any effect on Ny’s previous conclusions on the case.
“Concerning the report that was issued last week, I would like to state that it does not change my earlier assessments in the investigation,” she said.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond branded the working group’s findings as “frankly ridiculous” and said the Australian was “hiding from justice”.
Assange said the minister’s comments were “beneath” his stature and insulting to the UN.
He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over a sex allegation, which he has always denied, and believes he will be taken to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he is extradited.
He said the UN Working Group’s decision was legally binding, insisting there was no higher authority on whether detentions were lawful.
Assange said Sweden and the UK had opportunities in the past few weeks to appeal against the decision but had not taken any action, so the matter was now a “settled law”.
Friends of Assange questioned whether the Swedish prosecutor was objective and was now the “appropriate person” to handle the case given the UN group’s decision.