Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Against Julian Assange

The 45-year-old has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape dating back to 2010.

Long added: "Ecuador was clear from the outset that it would fully co-operate with the Swedish justice system". He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that "any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him (Assange) would be an operational matter for the police". She says: "We don't make any statement of guilty or not".

Assange added that WikiLeaks would continue regardless of "the threats towards me and my staff" before hailing the release of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who provided classified information to WikiLeaks in 2010.

"This implies that we can now demonstrate that the United States has a will to take action. this is why we ask for the arrest warrant to be cancelled so that Julian Assange can fly to Ecuador and enjoy his political asylum", he told AFP at the time.

WikiLeaks tweeted after the Swedish announcement: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

"The decision to discontinue the preliminary investigation is not because we have been able to make a full assessment of the evidence in this case, but because we did not see any possibilities to advance the investigation forward", Public Prosecution Director Marianne Ny said in a televised press conference.

"Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, has today made a decision to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape by Julian Assange", the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

December 8: Assange surrenders to police in London and is detained pending extradition hearing. It has been an expensive standoff: Assange's first three-year stay in the Ecuadorean embassy alone cost the British taxpayers £11.1 million ($14.4 million).

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The police statement said Assange was previously wanted for "an extremely serious offence" in Sweden and the police presence around the embassy had "reflected the serious nature of that crime".

"Julian Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure".

In view of this, and that to continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange's personal appearance in court, there is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation.

However, if Assange were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitations for the suspected offenses expires in August 2020, the investigation could be reopened, she said.

Britain and the USA have an extradition treaty, so if Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy where he's claimed asylum, the British could arrest him and send him to the US.

Scotland Yard said it was obliged to execute a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court for the arrest of Mr Assange following his failure to surrender to the court in June 2012 should he leave the embassy. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States.

The Swedish authorities' decision to drop the investigations ends a seven-year impasse with Assange.

Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.

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