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Assange ends testimony to prosecutors

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Lloyd Jones, AAP London Correspondent

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has "co-operated fully" with prosecutors questioning him over a Swedish rape allegation and hopes the case against him will now be dropped, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson says.

But she told reporters outside Assange's refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Tuesday that even if Swedish authorities drop the case he will still have to stay inside the embassy while a US investigation into WikiLeaks' release of secret US government documents continues.

In the embassy where he's been holed up since mid-2016, the 45-year-old Australian on Tuesday finished two days of giving testimony on an allegation he raped a woman in Stockholm in 2010.

Swedish authorities had insisted he must return to Sweden to face the allegations but finally agreed to hear his evidence in London before an Ecuadorian prosecutor, with Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and a Swedish police investigator in attendance.

Isgren declined to comment to reporters as she left the embassy after the conclusion of Assange's testimony.

A statement on the Swedish Prosecution Authority's website said Ecuadorian authorities would provide a report on the Assange interview to Swedish prosecutors who will then "take a view on the continuation of the investigation".

The statement said the investigation was ongoing and therefore subject to confidentiality so details of could not be provided.

Robinson, an Australian human rights lawyer, told reporters that Assange has never been charged and he was cleared of the exact same allegation in 2010 by the chief prosecutor of Stockholm before the case was revived by the current chief prosecutor.

"This absurd politicised situation must come to an end," she said.

"Mr Assange is of course more optimistic now that the Swedish prosecutor has finally heard his side of the story and there's an opportunity now for this matter to be closed and we hope and expect that it will be".

But Robinson said even if the case was dropped Assange would have to remain inside the embassy while a US investigation in WikiLeaks' release of secret documents was ongoing and while the UK and Sweden refused to recognise his grant of political asylum by Ecuador.

"Our major concern is and has always been the risk of extradition to the United States and unless and until that investigation is closed he will remain inside the embassy," she said.

If Assange was extradited to the US he would face court and the prospect of a long prison term.

In 2010, WikiLeaks enraged the US government by publishing thousands of classified US military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in US history.

Robinson said that the US investigation should be dropped under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which relates to freedom of speech and the press.

When asked whether US president-elect Donald Trump could be asked to drop the US investigation Robinson said the Assange legal team remained open to talks with the US government on the case.

It is not known how long Swedish prosecutors will take to decide on the Assange case.

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