Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe into WikiLeaks' Assange
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 19, 2017,
May 19, 2017, 22:16
Sweden is set to drop investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on rape allegations, CNN quoted a prosecution statement released on Friday. He feared being extradited to the US if sent to Sweden as he could face trial there over the leaking hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.
Assange is still accused of breaching his bail conditions in the United Kingdom for fleeing to Ecuador's Embassy.
Sweden has revoked a European Arrest Warrant for Assange, so British police are no longer seeking him for extradition.
She accused him of having sex with her as she slept without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.
Ny's statement said that, according to Swedish legislation, any criminal investigation had to be conducted as quickly as possible, and once a prosecutor had exhausted the possibilities to continue, he or she was obliged to desist. There are no charges against him, although media reports have suggested the United States justice department is considering how to bring them.
Text of Swedish prosecutor's decision to drop Assange probe.
The preliminary investigation on Assange, 44, was opened in 2010. The Swedish statute of limitation on the case does not expire until August 2020.
The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.
While Assange may still not be able to leave Ecuador's embassy in the swanky Knightsbridge area of London, the prosecutor's decision to stop the investigation into allegations of rape brings to an end a 7-year stand-off with Sweden.
Friday was the deadline for the Swedish prosecution to send a request to Stockholm District Court in the Assange case.
In a statement, the office said Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny had chose to shut down the investigation and that details would be made available later at a press conference, Efe news reported. Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny speaks during a press conference in Stockholm on Friday May 19, 2017.
Earlier in May, a lawyer for Assange had filed a request at the Stockholm District Court that the arrest warrant be ended, arguing it should be dropped since the U.S. has expressed a desire to charge the 45-year-old.
WikiLeaks says the ball is now in Britain's court after Sweden's decision to drop its rape investigation of Julian Assange.
"It is a complete victory for Assange".
Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, his home for the last five years. He is of course happy and relieved.
Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women.
Taylor added that both British and American authorities have "consistently refused to confirm or deny" if there is a request for extradition to the US.
"The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy". It does not clear Assange's name, however, and some experts say it puts him into an even more precarious legal situation if the US has - as some suspect - a sealed indictment for his arrest.
When the Swedish announcement was made on Friday, WikiLeaks commented through its Twitter account that the "focus now moves to the UK".