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Julian Assange's lawyers have written a scathing op-ed piece in a Swedish newspaper, demanding that the prosecutor presiding over the rape and sexual allegations case to question the WikiLeaks founder in London.
"All Assange asks is that he be treated according to Swedish law," lawyers Thomas Olsson and Per Samuelsson wrote in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) yesterday.
Under Swedish law, investigations are allowed to be "adapted to the situation in which the investigated party finds himself" so that unnecessary inconvenience is not caused to the party involved.
The case has been going on for four years and so far, the prosecutor Marianne Ny has refused to interrogate Assange in London, stating that to do so would be against Swedish legal practice and would constitute special treatment, but Olsson and Samuelsson disagree.
Assange, the founder of whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012 after claiming diplomatic asylum to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault by two WikiLeaks volunteers.
Treat him like everybody else
"Prosecutor Marianne Ny must ... start treating him as everybody else who is under suspicion," the lawyers wrote, according to translations provided by The Local, an English newspaper in Sweden.
"Assuming that the prosecutor does not have a prejudiced opinion regarding the question of guilt, and is prepared to treat the different versions objectively, it is obvious that an interrogation with Julian Assange would benefit everybody, including the injured parties."
Olsson and Samuelsson have accused the prosecutor of having a "passive attitude" and feel that she has only been "pointing out difficulties". They suggest in the piece that she should be replaced by a "superior prosecutor" able to look at the case with "fresh eyes".
The lawyers' op-ed piece is in response to another piece published on 6 February in SvD entitled "Why should an exception be made for Assange?", in which the lawyer representing the younger of the two women, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, criticised the media for naming Assange, since suspects and accusers are rarely named in the Swedish press.
Swedish politicians shouldn't interfere
She is also annoyed with Swedish politicians commenting on the case on a live national television debate in Sweden, about whether Sweden's Prosecutor-General should drop the investigation into Assange completely.
"Why have courts when we can hold votes in daily newspapers and televised debates?" Fritz wrote. "Why should an exception be made for Assange?"
Fritz agrees with the prosecutor that Assange should not be given special treatment.
"We are all equal before the law, it is a foundation of our society, of our justice system, and a prerequisite for equal treatment. The only thing that is keeping Assange shut up in that embassy is himself."
Assange's lawyers feel that Marianne Ny should be replaced, otherwise the case will continue to drag on, which would cause the victims more pain.
"Assuming that the prosecutor does not have a prejudiced opinion regarding the question of guilt, and is prepared to treat the different versions objectively, it is obvious that an interrogation with Julian Assange would benefit everybody, including the injured parties," they wrote.