Sweden Drops Rape Case Against Julian Assange

Sweden Drops Rape Case Against Julian Assange

Sweden Drops Rape Case Against Julian Assange

Assange-the co-founder of Wikileaks-has spent the last five years living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to shield himself against possible extradition to the USA, where he's under investigation for the leaking of thousands of classified documents, as well as to Sweden, where he's wanted for rape.

Assange, 45, took refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape allegation, which he denies.

Assange faces arrest by British police on charges of skipping bail and also fears extradition to the USA over WikiLeaks' publication of top secret United States military and diplomatic documents.

Marianne Ny, the Swedish director of public prosecutions announced Friday that she was dropping the rape case because there is no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden "in the foreseeable future" and it is "no longer proportionate" to maintain the European arrest warrant.

"If he were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitation on this case expires in August 2020, the preliminary investigation could be resumed.it is regrettable we have not been able to carry out the investigation".

Police in London have said they would still be obliged to arrest Assange if he left the Ecuadorean embassy, despite the Swedish prosecutors' decision.

Her client was "shocked" and "had not changed her view that Assange raped her", the attorney said in an emailed statement to dpa.

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"Seven years of detention without charge - imprisoned under house arrest and nearly five years in this embassy without sunlight", he said. British police say he is still wanted for jumping bail in 2012.

After receiving the news from the Swedish court, the Australian journalist posted on his Twitter account a photo of him in which he appears relaxed, dressed in sports clothes and with a big smile.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts", the lawyer, Elisabeth Fritz, told AFP in an email.

Julian Assange's appearances on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy are rare but they all have a rather similar theatrical feel about them.

United States intelligence agencies have concluded Russian Federation was behind the hacking in an effort to interfere with the American political process, damage Mrs Clinton's campaign and help Republican Donald Trump win the White House.

This means he could STILL face arrest if he bounces from the Ecuadorean Embassy. Ny said the decision was not a pronouncement regarding Assange " s possible guilt or innocence. The releases sure to anger the Trump administration, which has recently turned against Assange after previously promoting him and his work during their campaign.

Sweden's top prosecutor says "costs were not a reason for putting down the investigation" of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

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The British government declined to comment on speculation that the United States may already have requested Assange's extradition.

Earlier this month, Assange " s lawyer Samuelson filed a request to lift the 2010 arrest warrant, citing as grounds public statements by USA officials saying the United States wanted him arrested.

During last year's USA presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton's staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election to Trump.

The Ecuadorean government welcomed the decision and in a statement called on Britain to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. "Focus now moves to U.K".

"The United States, CIA director Pompeo and the USA attorney general have said I and other Wikileaks staff have no rights, no first amendment rights, and our arrest is a priority".

She was given a 35-year prison sentence, which former US President Barack Obama commuted in January.

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