Julian Assange will avoid questioning in Sweden for some of the sex offences alleged against him, but still faces being holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in west London until 2020. The Swedish Prosecution Authority (SPA) has said three of the four allegations made against the Wikileaks founder in 2010 will soon reach a five-year expiry date under the country's law.
As the expiry date for the sex offence allegations approaches, Assange still stands accused of rape in Sweden and that will not expire until 2020. It means he could remain in the Kensington embassy building for another five years, which would take his time spent their as a refugee to eight years.
Assange sought asylum in the embassy in June 2012 after being accused of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion by two women in Stockholm in 2010. Those claims will expire on Thursday (13 August) while another sexual molestation claim is set to expire on Tuesday 18 August. The Australian-born 44-year-old denies the allegations but fears returning to Sweden would lead to his extradition to the United States to face charges over leaking secret government documents.
An SPA spokeswoman said: "The prosecutor still wants to interview him. The prosecutor still has not got permission from Ecuador."
Speaking to The Times newspaper, a representative for Assange said: "It's quite obvious that the Swedish authorities waited all these years. He doesn't have to clear his name. He has been asking to be interviewed in London for five years - he has asked for this to be moved forward. It's come to a time to end this. That case should be dropped as well."