Julian Assange interrogated over rape claims

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Reuters / file)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Reuters / file)

Prosecutors have begun questioning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on rape allegations, six years after the claims were first made.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden to face charges.

He denies the rape accusation and instead claims it's an attempt to extradite him to the US for potential prosecution over WikiLeaks, where he published more than 500,000 secret military files.

A senior Swedish prosecutor, a Swedish police inspector and an Ecuadorian prosecutor were present for the start of the questioning.

Julian Assange interrogated over rape claims

While Julian Assange didn't make a public appearance, his cat did, peering from the embassy's window (Reuters)

But Assange's Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, says he was barred from the interview.

"Ecuador refuses to let me in and insists that the questioning will continue without my presence, against my client's wishes to have me there," he told Reuters.

On its website WikiLeaks said blocking Mr Samuelson was a "clear breach of process".

"[Assange] felt compelled to participate even with these problems," it said.

Three days have been set aside for the questioning.