Sweden drops Assange investigation, but UK police say he still faces arrest


Why has Sweden dropped charges against Assange?

Prosecutors in Sweden said on Friday that they would drop their investigation into Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London five years ago after the authorities in Stockholm opened a preliminary rape inquiry against him.

Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke his arrest warrant, apparently ending a seven-year stand-off, the BBC reported.

Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecution, has made a decision to "discontinue the preliminary investigation", the Swedish Prosecution Authority announced on May 19, the deadline for prosecutor to either renew or lift Assange's European arrest warrant before a Stockholm court.

In November, Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren was present during Assange's questioning at the Ecuadorian embassy as she posed questions through an Ecuadorian prosecutor. It is now not possible to take any further steps that would move the investigation forward.

In a statement detailing his relationship with his accuser, he said that the woman had expressed a clear desire "to have sexual intercourse with me", and that the two had parted amicably after having sex several times.

Friday's announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden. He has spent almost five years inside the Embassy of Ecuador in London to avoid being sent to Sweden, which announced Friday, May 19, 2017 that the investigation has been discontinued.

Mr Assange has always denied the rape allegation.

He also tweeted: "Detained for 7 years without charge by while my children grew up and my name was slandered". As I once again stated in a letter to the Swedish state on May 8, Ecuador has regularly criticised the conduct of the Swedish Prosecutor in this case as wholly unacceptable and which has led to unnecessary delays in progressing this case.

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.

Samuelsson, the lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio he had been in touch with Assange via text message and the Australian had written, "Serious, Oh My God".

Shortly afterwards, he lodged his request for asylum in Ecuador and fled to the country's embassy in London.

However, Assange has maintained he is "entirely innocent".

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Sweden's top prosecutor says "costs were not a reason for putting down the investigation" of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham). People gather outside of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Friday May 19, 2017.

Both British and American authorities have "consistently refused to confirm or deny" if there is a request for extradition to the United States, she said. In April, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions said it was a "priority" to arrest Assange.

Assange's lawyer Per Samuelsson told news agency TT his client was now considering suing Sweden.

Prime Minister Theresa May said any decision about Assange will be an operational matter for the British police to decide.

"Mr Turnbull should talk to [Theresa] May about safe passage out [of the UK]", Barns said.

February 24: District court in Britain rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden.

The UK's Home Office was unable to comment on the implications of the decision because of the upcoming election.

"It's a big victory day for Julian Assange", Mr Samuelson said in an interview.

The UK government briefly threatened to enter and arrest Assange, drawing condemnation from the Ecuadorian government.

The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he jumped bail in 2012, and it "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

As speculation rises as to when and if Assange will leave the safety of the London embassy, attention now shifts to the United Kingdom government who "refuse to confirm or deny" that they have received an extradition warrant from the U.S.

"The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are now wanted in the Capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners", it added.