Sweden drops prosecution against WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange

Sweden drops prosecution against WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange

But the Wikileaks founder is not off the hook yet.

Swedish prosecutorshave dropped an investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation, but British police say he'll still be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up.

Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said the investigation had not been able to proceed because of legal obstacles.

Mr Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, fearing extradition to Sweden would lead to extradition to the US. "My assessment is that the surrender can not be executed in the foreseeable future". He has been there ever since, fearing that if he was in custody he might ultimately be extradited to the United States for his role at the helm of WikiLeaks, which has enraged governments around the world by publishing tens of thousands of leaked classified USA documents. He has spent almost five years inside the Embassy of Ecuador in London to avoid being sent to Sweden, which announced Friday that the investigation has been discontinued. She said prosecutors had been unable to make a full assessment of the case and were not making a finding on whether Assange was guilty of the allegations.

Has the European arrest warrant against Assange been lifted?

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.

However, Ny now says the decision to drop the investigation is because there is no prospect of Assange being surrendered to Sweden in the foreseeable future.

August 16 - Ecuador grants Assange political asylum.

He was arrested in 2010 and he was set for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges alleged by the women, but Assange did not surrender into custody.

Swedish judges have refused to take into account the opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which in February 2016 said Assange was effectively "arbitrarily detained" by Sweden and Britain and called for the arrest warrant to be annulled. "It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence".

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He said recent comments by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump in favour of arresting the Australian reaffirm Ecuador's belief that the rape charges against him were politically motivated and that Assange still faces a serious risk of prosecution.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in April that Assange should not be afforded constitutional free speech protections in the U.S.

"We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks", Sessions said at a press conference last month. The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he juimped bail in 2012, and it "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

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).

Assange said Friday his legal team would contact United Kingdom officials to seek a way forward in resolving his status.

Why has Sweden dropped charges against Assange?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his legal team will contact United Kingdom officials to seek a way forward in resolving in resolving his status.

"This is a total victory for us", Assange's lawyer Per Samuelson said.

British Police issued a statement today that Assange was still wanted in Britain on less serious charges. "Focus now moves to UK", WikiLeaks said in a tweet after the announcement in Sweden.

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