Sweden reopens Assange rape investigation

A senior prosecutor in Sweden has ordered the reopening of the rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed. Considering information available at present, my judgement is that the classification of the crime is rape," the Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said in a statement.

A warrant for Assange's arrest was previously issued on 20 August in connection with the rape allegations, but cancelled within hours.

Assange denies any offence, calling the accusations "without basis".

The decision to reopen the case is believed to have followed an appeal by the Swedish woman who made the initial complaint.

Assange's supporters have claimed that the timing of the allegations is suspicious, coming as it does within weeks of WikiLeaks releasing 76,000 classified US Defense Department documents relating to the war in Afghanistan, and alleged to contain evidence of war crimes being committed by coalition forces.

WikiLeaks has said it intends to publish another 15,000 documents within the next week or so, once it has completed a thorough review process to redact information that could identify and endanger civilians.