Three of the four allegations of sexual assault against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may never be investigated as the time limit required to do so will expire in seven days.
Mr Assange, whose Wikileaks website published thousands of US military and diplomatic documents in 2010, has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.
The 44-year-old was granted political asylum by Ecuador and moved into its embassy in the capital to avoid being extradited to Sweden over allegations of four sexual assaults it is claimed he committed there in 2010.
Mr Assange has never been charged with any offences relating to the claims and denies the allegations.
But the chance for Swedish prosecutors to interview the Wikileaks editor about the claims will run out in a week because of Sweden’s statute of limitations relating to the allegations.
This is the time period within which a person must be charged if they are to be prosecuted for an alleged offence.
The statute of limitations for three of the four claims against Mr Assange is five years from when they were alleged to have been committed against the same person – with the dates of the alleged incidents being 13, 14 and 18 August 2010, reports legal blogger Jack of Kent.
Whistleblowing controversies of the last decade
Whistleblowing controversies of the last decade
1/12 Edward Snowden NSA leak
Articles in The Guardian revealed that the US and the UK spied on foreign leaders and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit.
2/12 WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak
In 2009, former US soldier Chelsea Manning, downloaded hundreds of thousands of classified US Government documents, and passed them on to Jullian Assange's whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. Among the documents were 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables. One disclosed the close relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Guardian reported. Allegations included "lavish gifts", lucrative energy contracts and the use by Berlusconi of a "shadowy" Russian-speaking Italiango-between.
3/12 WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak
WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak: In a revelation which bruised the UK's 'special relationship' with the US, WikiLeaks published conversations by US commanders criticising Britain's military operations in Afghanistan.
4/12 WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak
WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak: One document disclosed startling levels of corruption in Afghanistan, including an incident involving the then vice-president, Ahmad Zia Massoud, who was reportedly stopped and questioned in Dubai when he flew into the emirate with $52m in cash.
5/12 WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak
Another cable documented fears in Washington over Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, in a volatile country with a strategic position in the Middle East.
6/12 WikiLeaks' US diplomatic cables leak
Day four of the gradual drip of leaks exposed allegations that Russia and its intelligence agencies are using mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations, with one cable reporting that the relationship is so close that the country has become a "virtual mafia state".
7/12 Edward Snowden NSA leak
In 2013, The Guardian published classified US National Security Agency (NSA) documents, from a then anonymous whistleblower. Four days later he was exposed as former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. A month after the initial leak, the New York Times allegeded that the NSA received emails, video clips, photos, voice and video calls, social networking details, logins and other data held by a range of US internet firms.
8/12 Edward Snowden NSA leak
Since Snowden revealed that the US had eavesdropped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone, German-US relations have been strained. In May 2014, Mrs Merkel said still had significant differences with the United States over surveillance practices and that it was too soon to return to “business as usual," according to the New York Times.
9/12 Edward Snowden NSA leak
On 7 June, The Guardian published the Presidential Policy Directive 20, whcih included a list of potential targets for cyber-attacks by the US Government.
10/12 Samy Kamkar iPhone and Android exposé
In April 2014, hacker and researcher Samy Kamkar revealed that Android phones collect user location data every few seconds. Files are then transited to Google several times an hour.
11/12 Samy Kamkar iPhone and Android exposé
It is believed Apple and Google are using the data to better target adverts to smartphone users, according to The Guardian.
12/12 Samy Kamkar iPhone and Android exposé
The two companies have since justified the collection of data. In a letter to the US congress Apple confirmed it collected the data and said that, in order to be useful, "the databases [of tower and network locations] must be updated continuously". A Google spokesman told the Guardian Android phones explicitly asked to collect anonymous location data when users turned them on.
The nature of the fourth sexual assault allegation means it has a ten-year limitation period, according to the blogger.
In March, Swedish prosecutors said that they would be willing to interview Mr Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London – but they were later reportedly not given permission to do so by Ecuador.
“This, of course seems counter-intuitive," Jack of Kent wrote.
"It surely cannot be the case that Assange can rely on his own refusal to go to Sweden to escape answering the allegations."
A spokesperson for the Swedish Prosecution Authority told the blogger: "As long as the prosecutor does not receive permission to interview Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy, there is nothing else she can do before 13-18 August.
"An interview is necessary for the investigation."
Mr Assange fears that if he goes to Sweden he will be taken to the US for questioning over the Wikileaks disclosures.
Swedish prosecutors confirmed the Australian was due to be cleared on the three allegations, according to The Times, while Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Hugo Swire said the situation was "deeply unsatisfactory and costly".
Claes Borgström, the alleged victim's lawyer, told the newspaper his client felt a "sense of injustice" - but suggested she was keen to put the case behind her.
"At the time of, of course, she wanted Julian Assange to stand before the court to answer the allegations, then time passed.
"She's leading her own normal life. You do not want to recall [the claims] all over again."Reuse content