Sweden drops Assange investigation, UK police says he still faces arrest

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

September 1: Sweden's director of prosecutions, Marianne Ny, reopens rape investigation.

The Swedish prosecutor's office said in a statement it had made a decision to end its investigation.

Assange has been in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012.

Friday's announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden. These interviews in London led to further investigative measures being taken.

The plaintiff in the rape case was "shocked" by the decision, her lawyer said, and maintained her accusations against Mr Assange, Agence France-Presse reported.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's future could now follow many different paths.

Sweden has dropped rape charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, potentially paving the way for his exit from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"This is a total victory for Julian Assange".

A supporter holds up a poster of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside the Ecuadorian embassy in central London, Britain February 5, 2016.

But the picture is more complicated than that.

The allegations surfaced after two women accused Assange of sexual misconduct during a visit to Stockholm in 2010.

After that, the investigation stalled.

Assange has always denied the rape and sexual assault allegations, and in December released a 19-page testimony detailing his defense.

"This implies that we can now demonstrate that the U.S. 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. She says: "We don't make any statement of guilty or not".

But the United Kingdom authorities indicated Friday that Assange still faces arrest there were he to leave the embassy. However, the court backs Assange's extradition to Sweden in May 2012 over alleged sex crimes.

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 USA indictment against him.

Samuelson said Sweden's judicial system "spoiled and wasted five, six years of his life. but he is happy today".

"My legal staff have contacted the United Kingdom authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what is the best way forward".

Assange hailed a "victory" and said his lawyers were now seeking a "dialogue" with British authorities about his future but gave no further details and repeated his claim that the USA is planning to extradite him for revealing state secrets. Mr. Sessions has expressed a desire to arrest Assange, stating that the Justice Department would prioritize the prosecution of any operatives who leak classified information, potentially placing USA national security at risk.

Last month, USA president Donald Trump said he would support any decision by the justice department to charge Mr Assange.

The U.S. authorities, however, have prepared charges to seek his arrest, officials familiar with the matter told CNN last month. According to Assange, the case was established as an attempt to discredit his reputation.

Some legal experts say it makes his position less secure.

The 45-year-old Australian has always denied the allegations, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and put on trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents. That is no longer the case.

"Mr Turnbull should also ask whether there is an extradition request against Assange". He was granted diplomatic asylum in August that year. On Friday, the group released what it said were new details of Central Intelligence Agency cyberespionage tools.

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