Sweden drops WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange rape investigation


Sweden's top prosecutor on Friday dropped an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years, saying that's because there's no possibility of arresting him "in the foreseeable future".

The Australian sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 after a judge ordered his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. 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".

"The truth is, he gave a very good explanation: this was consensual sex between two adults and nothing else".

Despite Friday's announcement by Swedish prosecutors, Assange, who is still the subject of a United Kingdom arrest warrant, acknowledged he is unlikely to walk out of the embassy any time soon. Minister Patino said that Assange would be prohibited from "making political statements that could affect [Ecuador's] relations with friendly countries". In the statement, Assange attacked Marianne Ny for conducting the interview as "a ruse to tick a box to ensure the technical possibility to indict [Assange]".

Assange's Swedish lawyer last month filed a new motion demanding that the arrest warrant be lifted after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April that arresting Assange would be "a priority".

Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecutions, said she had made a decision to discontinue the inquiry into the allegation dating from 2010, when the country issued a European arrest warrant for him.

Swedish prosecutors have dropped their rape investigation into the WikiLeaks founder.

But it adds that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offence" than the original sex crimes claims, and police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence".

The statute of limitations on the rape allegation expires in August 2020.

Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice of his alleged crimes. He is later released on bail and calls the Swedish rape allegations a smear campaign.

Assange also lashed out at Sweden for taking seven years to investigate allegations he maintained were baseless.

When the whistleblower fled to the embassy of Ecuador, he broke the terms of his bail conditions following an extradition order by Britain's Supreme Court. It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).

After the Swedish announcement.

As Assange always predicted, once he was interviewed and prosecutors had to decide whether to pursue the case, it was abandoned. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that "any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him (Assange) would be an operational matter for the police".

Why was the Swedish investigation dropped?

She said the WikiLeaks founder had "tried to dodge all attempts at arrest" by British and Swedish authorities.

Mr Assange's Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, said the prosecutor's decision on Friday represented "a total victory" for his client.

Sweden's top prosecutor dropped a long-running inquiry into a rape claim against Assange on Friday, saying there was no way to detain or charge him "in the foreseeable future" because of his protected status inside the embassy. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States.

In view of this, and that to continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange's personal appearance in court, there is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation.