US Senate Committee asks to interview Julian Assange in connection with Russia probe

A US Senate committee has asked to interview Julian Assange (Dominic Lipinski/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Lawyers for Julian Assange are “seriously considering” a request from a United States Senate committee to interview the WikiLeaks founder as part of their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has written to Mr Assange, via the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for more than six years.

Ecuador gave him asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims.

Sweden dropped the case, but Mr Assange remains subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail.

He is also wanted in the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks, and fears that if he leaves the embassy he will be extradited to America for questioning and could be imprisoned.

The chairman of the committee, Richard Burr, wrote: “As you are aware, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is conducting a bipartisan inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.

“As part of that inquiry, the committee requests that you make yourself available for a closed interview with bipartisan committee staff at a mutually agreeable time and location.”

WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson, of Doughty Street Chambers, said: “The US Senate Select Committee request confirms their interest in hearing from Mr Assange.

“The inquiry has asked for him to appear in person at a mutually agreeable time and place.

"We are seriously considering the offer but must ensure Mr Assange’s protection is guaranteed.”

Mr Assange’s internet access was severed by the Ecuadorian Government in March over posts he made on social media decrying the arrest of a Catalonian separatist leader.

As part of an agreement between Mr Assange and the Ecuadorean government, he is not permitted to send any messages that could interfere with the South American nation's relations with other countries.

Mr Assange has also been denied visitors for several weeks.