Sweden drops Rape charges against Assange

May 22, 2017, 15:26
Sweden drops Rape charges against Assange

Chief prosecutor in Sweden Marianne Ny said the investigation had not been able to proceed because of legal obstacles. Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, and he's been there ever since.

Authorities launched an investigation in 2010 after two women came forward accusing Assange of rape and sexual assault. However, British police said Assange was still wanted in the United Kingdom for jumping bail - so he could still face arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy.

Per E Samuelson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, told AP that it was a "day of victory" for the WikiLeaks founder.

The police ended their round-the-clock guard outside the embassy in October 2015 but said they were strengthening a "covert plan" to prevent his departure.

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Without the possibility of Assange coming to court "in a reasonable timeframe", there was no point continuing the probe, she said.

According to the BBC News, if Assange would return to Sweden before the statute of limitation on this case expires in August 2020, the preliminary investigation could resume.

The Australian, who has lived inside the embassy for nearly five years, said the "road is far from over", adding it was "extremely regretful" he was still being threatened with arrest if he leaves the embassy. But they said they would beef up their "covert tactics" and that Assange would be arrested if he stepped outside of the embassy. "Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence".

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Mr Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after allegations of rape were brought against him.

"In view of the fact that all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted, it appears that it is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence".

CIA Director Mike Pompeo last month called WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to a question about Assange, said the administration was stepping up its efforts against all leaks of sensitive information.

The Wikileaks founder also said that although "today was an important victory", "the road is far from over", while "the proper war is just commencing".

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