There is widespread media misreporting about allegations made against Julian Assange in Sweden in 2010. Here are the facts:
First, Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years. The widespread media assertion that Assange “evaded” Swedish questioning is false. It was the Swedish prosecutor who for years refused to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy: they only did so, in November 2016, after the Swedish courts forced the prosecutor to travel to London. Sweden dropped the investigation six months later, in May 2017.
Second, Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid onward extradition to the US – not to avoid extradition to Sweden or to refuse to face the Swedish allegations. Assange would have accepted extradition to Sweden had it provided an assurance against onward extradition to the US (as Amnesty International also urged at the time) – but both Sweden and the UK refused to provide an assurance that he would not be extradited to the US.
Third, Sweden wanted to drop its arrest warrant for Assange in 2013. It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue. This is confirmed in emails released under a tribunal challenge following a Freedom of Information Act request. UK prosecutors admitted to deleting key emails and engaged in elaborate attempts to keep correspondence from the public record. Indeed, the lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service advised the Swedes in January 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.
Fourth, despite widespread false reporting, Assange was never charged with anything related to the Swedish allegations. These only reached the level of a “preliminary investigation”. The Swedish prosecution questioned Assange on two separate occasions, in 2010 and 2016. He has consistentlyprofessed his innocence.
Fifth, almost entirely omitted from current media reporting is that the initial Swedish preliminary investigation in 2010 was dropped after the chief prosecutor of Stockholm concluded that “the evidence did not disclose any evidence of rape” and that “no crime at all” had been committed.