Sweden drops 7-year-old rape investigation against Assange

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

Sweden has dropped its investigation against Europe" "Baba Jukwa' Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police.

British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed US indictment against him.

Assange, an Australian national, has previously said that he feared that if he left the embassy he could end up being extradited and face the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing hundreds of thousands o secret USA military and diplomatic documents through WikiLeaks, CNN reported.

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

Assange has been denying the rape allegations and though the latest decision might bring some relief but he is still under pressure as if he leaves the embassy he could still be detained by United Kingdom police and face extradition to the US.

WikiLeaks tweeted: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a United States extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

"If he, at a later date, makes himself available, I will be able to decide to resume the investigation immediately", she said.

Ny told reporters that prosecutors had been unable to make a full assessment of the case and were not making a finding on whether Assange was guilty or innocent of the allegations.

He also says he would be "happy" to discuss the case with the U.S. Department of Justice despite U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying that arresting Assange is a priority.

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.

British officials said they do not comment on individual extradition cases.

"Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the [Met Police] response reflected the serious nature of that crime".

Mr. Assange has said that he met his accuser in August 2010 during a trip to Sweden. "In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him", the statement reads in part. "Focus now moves to the UK", WikiLeaks tweeted.

One police auto with three cops inside was parked outside the embassy on early on Friday, with more arriving to control a growing crowd of journalists and photographers.

WikiLeaks has generated global controversy by publishing confidential and damaging information from the United States and other countries.

A British government source would not confirm or deny if the United States had made a request to extradite Assange until an arrest had been made.

Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly infuriated US officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world.

WikiLeaks also had a role in the 2016 US presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.

"This unnecessary delay was despite the repeated insistence from the Ecuadorian government - ever since the granting of asylum in 2012 - that this interview was not only possible but that Ecuador would facilitate its carrying out in our Embassy". It is not clear if that may change now that the investigation has been dropped.

Recent public declarations such as this constitute an "obvious risk" for Mr Assange, said the letter.

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks.

A lawyer for the woman who alleged she was raped by Assange said "it's a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court".

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