The lawyer for a Swedish woman who reported being raped by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010 said the country’s decision to reopen the rape case was “great news”. Elisabeth Massi Fritz said the move signalled “that no one stands above the law” and that “the legal system in Sweden doesn’t give a special treatment to anyone”. Fritz added her client “feels great gratitude”. Sweden said on Monday it would reopen an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and seek his extradition from Britain. State Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told a news conference she would continue and conclude a preliminary investigation that was dropped in 2017 without charges being brought, as Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. “It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required,” she said. Assange was arrested in Britain last month after spending seven years inside the embassy. The United States is also seeking his extradition on charges relating to the public release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of secret documents. Julian Assange says he does not want to be extradited to US to face hacking charge The Swedish prosecutor’s office said it would shortly request Assange be detained in his absence on probable cause for an allegation of rape and that it would issue a European arrest warrant – the process under which his extradition would be sought. Assange’s Swedish lawyer said he was “very surprised” by prosecutors’ decision to reopen a rape case against the WikiLeaks founder and said his client was innocent. Per E Samuelsen told Swedish broadcaster SVT: “I do not understand the Swedish prosecutor’s … reasoning for reopening a 10-year old case.” WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief said the Swedish decision to reopen a rape case against Julian Assange “will give Julian a chance to clear his name”. Kristinn Hrafnsson said on Monday that Persson had been under “intense political pressure” to reopen the case. He also asserted that the case has been “mishandled” from the start. Assange is currently in prison in Britain after being sentenced to 50 weeks behind bars last month for jumping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy. The decision to reopen the investigation poses the question of whether Assange will be moved to the US to face conspiracy charges for hacking into classified information or to Sweden. “I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the UK and that he could be extradited to the US,” Persson said. Julian Assange tried to set up a ‘centre for spying’ in London embassy: Ecuador President The British courts will have to rule on any extradition request and Home Secretary Sajid Javid would decide which one takes precedence once Swedish prosecutors file theirs. Nick Vamos, lawyer at London-based firm Peters & Peters and former head of extradition at Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, said before Monday’s decision that he expected a Swedish request would take supremacy. “In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority,” a Swedish prosecutor’s statement said. Swedish prosecutors filed preliminary charges – a step short of formal charges – against Assange after he visited the country in 2010. Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired. That left a rape allegation, and the case was closed as it could not be pursued while Assange was living at the embassy and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden. The statute of limitations on that case expires in August 2020. The case was opened following complaints from two Swedish women who said they were the victims of sex crimes committed by Assange. He has denied the allegations, asserting that they were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London under US extradition warrant The 47-year-old Australian met the women in connection with a lecture in August 2010 in Stockholm. One was involved in organising an event for Sweden’s centre-left Social Democratic Party and offered to host Assange at her flat. The other was in the audience. A police officer who heard the women’s accounts decided there was reason to suspect they were victims of sex crimes and handed the case to a prosecutor. Neither of the alleged victims has been named publicly.