Sweden to Question Wikileaks Founder Assange at London Embassy Hideout

PHOTO: Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain Feb. 5, 2016.Peter Nicholls/Reuters
Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain Feb. 5, 2016.

Ecuadorian authorities have said that they will allow Swedish authorities to interrogate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, inside their embassy in London, where he has been living for the past several years.

The announcement comes four years after the South American country first granted the transparency activist asylum and allowed him to live in the embassy -- a move that prevented his extradition to Sweden, where authorities have wanted to question him on allegations of rape.

In a statement released on Thursday, authorities said that the Ecuadorian Attorney General had notified his Swedish counterpart of his willingness to allow Assange to be questioned. Ecuador maintains that they have offered access to Assange for questioning for several years.

Swedish authorities had previously wanted to question Assange in their own jurisdiction. He was accused of a 2010 rape in the country.

No date for Sweden's interrogation of Assange has been set. The statement said that it would be agreed upon "in the coming weeks."

He has not been charged and denies the allegations made by two women, according to the Associated Press.

Assange’s defense lawyers welcomed the announcement saying, it "comes after six years of complete inaction on the part of the Swedish prosecutor," according to the AP.

Swedish authorities sent a formal request to the Ecuadorian embassy asking to interview the Wikileaks founder in January, the AP reported.

Among other controversial publications, Wikileaks released secret military and State Department documents it received from Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, an American soldier who is currently serving a 35-year sentence for the leak.

In the statement released on Thursday, Ecuadorian authorities reiterated "the validity of the asylum" they granted to the Australian citizen in August, 2012. It said that a key motivation for granting Assange asylum in the case was "fear of political persecution."