Sweden drops Assange rape investigation

Media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London this morning

Media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London this morning

Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange, nearly seven years after it began and five years after the WikiLeaks founder sought refuge inside Ecuador's London embassy.

Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped their investigation, but Assange still faces the risk of arrest in Britain, and he fears he will be extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

The prosecutors said their decision was based on the nation's inability to apprehend Assange in the foreseeable future, adding that they could reopen the case if the transparency advocate returns to Sweden before 2020.

Per E. Samuelson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, told The Associated Press that it was a "day of victory" for the WikiLeaks founder.

He said that recent statements by U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicating that United States authorities would seek to arrest Assange were a sign that he still faces persecution outside Britain.

It does not clear Assange's name.

He says his battle is not over, and "the proper war is just commencing".

He said he has suffered a "terrible injustice", without ever being charged with a crime.

He made the remarks after Marianne Ny, the chief prosecutor in Sweden, announced that she "has chose to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape" by Assange.

The allegations stemmed from a 2010 trip Assange made to Stockholm, where two women claimed that in separate instances they had consensual sex with Assange that became non-consensual when he refused to wear a condom.

"It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence", she said.

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 controversy surrounding founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape accusations, has also polarised opinion on the group.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, said Britain should now grant Assange "safe passage", and repeated his government's offer of asylum to the Australian whistle-blower.

Nor does suspension of the investigation enable Assange to regain his freedom, since, if he walks out of the embassy, he will be arrested on a charge of failing to surrender his bail five years ago.

His supporters believe the sex crime allegations that have bedeviled Assange for years were politically motivated. They said this was a much less serious offense than rape, but he could still face up to a year in jail if convicted.

Mr Robertson said the United States was likely to indict Assange, and that the Trump administration could use his case as a diversion from the alleged ties to Russian Federation.

Assange could fight any US extradition request in the British courts, a process that could take years.

She accused him of having s. with her as she slept without using a c.m despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected interc.e.

The department said Friday it had no comment on Assange.

The worst scandals to affect WikiLeaks have been those involving Assange. In December, he spoke for the first time on the allegations, releasing a statement and documents as he claimed he was "entirely innocent".

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

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