Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Against Julian Assange

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

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.

The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, told a news conference in Stockholm that she could make no judgment on Assange's guilt or innocence.

A statement from the prosecutor said: "Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today chose to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

The sun-starved WikiLeaks provocateur, looking healthy if pale, emerged Friday afternoon to address the media in the open air of the embassy's balcony. He said the day marked an "important victory", but noted that he still could be prosecuted by the United States.

Sweden did not expect Ecuador's co-operation in formally notifying Assange of the allegations against him, a necessary step in proceeding with the case, she added. His children had grown up without him, he said.

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".

He feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in USA history.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange's legal team, called attention to the USA, telling NBC News that "as long as the national security prosecution continues there continues to be a risk to him".

Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly infuriated USA 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.

He feared being extradited to the USA if sent to Sweden.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, tweeted Friday that Britain "must now grant safe passage" to Assange.

Mr Assange refused to meet actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played him the film The Fifth Estate, because he believed it would only help destroy his organisation.

Speaking from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy, the WikiLeaks founder says his seven-year legal ordeal - which he calls unjust detention - "is not something that I can forgive".

However, he could now finally leave the Knightsbridge address. "The UK has said it will arrest me regardless".

U.S. President Donald Trump said last month he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

"We will seek to put some people in jail", Sessions said.

Manning was released on Wednesday after spending seven years in a USA military prison for passing the documents to WikiLeaks. She was freed Wednesday, having had her sentence commuted by outgoing President Barack Obama before he left office.

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

Sweden has revoked a European Arrest Warrant for Assange, so British police are no longer seeking him for extradition.

Wikileaks tweeted this morning: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted.

Mr Assange was questioned six months ago in the presence of Swedish officials over a sex allegation, which he has always denied.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelson declared Friday that "this is a total victory for Julian Assange".

Earlier, Assange had used social media to vent his anger hours after the Swedish prosecution made a decision to drop its rape investigation against him. Swedish prosecutors dropped cases of alleged sexual misconduct when the statute of limitations ran out in 2015, leaving only the rape allegation. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.

It went on: "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".

Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until previous year, when the operation was scaled back.

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