Julian Assange: Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Into WikiLeaks Founder


Sweden's top prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said Friday she's dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

A statement released online declared Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny's intention to "discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

She told a press conference in Stockholm that the investigation could be reopened if Mr Assange returns to Sweden before the allegation against him elapses under Swedish law in August 2020.

Assange has been living in the Ecuador embassy for almost five years, protected by Ecuador's current leftist government from extradition to Sweden over the 2012 rape allegations.

However, London police issued a statement after the Swedish announcement making clear Assange was still wanted by them.

"As a result of the decision to discontinue the investigation, the prosecutor has reversed the decision to detain him in his absence and withdrawn the EAW (European Arrest Warrant)".

October 12: Metropolitan Police end their 24-hour guard outside the Ecuadorean embassy but say they will use overt and covert means to track and arrest Assange if he leaves. British police say he is still wanted for jumping bail in 2012.

The Wikileaks founder also sent a celebratory tweet. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States.

In November, Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren was present during Assange's questioning at the Ecuadorian embassy as she posed questions through an Ecuadorian prosecutor.

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Through this action, Julian Assange has evaded every attempt to execute the decision to surrender him to Sweden.

Despite Friday's announcement by Swedish prosecutors, Assange, who is still the subject of a United Kingdom arrest warrant, acknowledged he is unlikely to walk out of the embassy any time soon.

Ecuador, which has granted Assange asylum, says it will step up diplomatic efforts to gain him safe passage to the Latin American country.

Swedish officials withdrew a Europe-wide arrest warrant for Assange after coming to the conclusion that it would be impossible to bring him to Sweden, prosecutor Ny said.

"Julian Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure. My assessment is the transfer can not be carried out in a foreseeable future", Ms Ny told reporters. Assange was last questioned by Swedish officials at the embassy six months ago in relation to the case.

Before the Metropolitan Police in London said Assange could be arrested if he leaves the Ecuador embassy, Melinda Taylor, one of Assange's lawyers, told the Swedish news agency TT: "The first thing that needs to be done, presumably, is to secure guarantees from the British authorities that he will not be arrested on other grounds".

Speaking from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy, where he took refuge in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, Assange said his seven-year legal ordeal - which he called unjust detention - "is not something that I can forgive".

British police kept up a round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back partly because of the costs, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).

WikiLeaks tweeted: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a United States extradition warrant for Julian Assange". She was freed Wednesday, having had her sentence commuted by outgoing President Barack Obama before he left office.