'Battle is over but the war has just begun': Julian Assange
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 19:32
Swedish prosecutors dropped an investigation on Friday of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for almost five years.
Later on Friday, British police said separately they would still arrest Assange if he walked out of the embassy because he had broken his conditions for bail by failing to surrender on June 29, 2012 for extradition to Sweden.
British police said separately that it was still under obligation to arrest Assange were he to leave the embassy. The embattled founder of document-spilling site WikiLeaks has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 in a bid to avoid prosecution on those allegations and to shield himself from a potential U.S. espionage prosecution.
Assange's lawyer Per Samuelson said Assange faced a "real risk" of extradition from Sweden.
"The decision by the Swedish prosecutor only highlights the fact Mr. Assange has been unlawfully detained for years", Barry Pollack, Assange's US-based attorney, told RT via email.
American officials have previously stated they would try a "very serious criminal investigation" against Assange and Wikileaks for leaking large volumes of classified documents online, including those related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Barrister Greg Barns' call comes after Swedish prosecutors on Friday announced they would discontinue a rape investigation against him.
The Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianna Ny, explained the decision was made because her government didn't believe the Wikileaks founder would ever return to Sweden.
Appearing on the balcony of the central London embassy where he has spent five years, Assange criticised Western governments but said he was prepared to enter into dialogue with London and Washington.
"It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence", she said.
According to the BBC News, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month in response to a question about Assange that the USA has "already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail".
Mr Assange said the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether there is a warrant from the US for his extradition, insisting he was happy to talk to the US Justice Department.
The lawyer for Assange's accuser said it was a "scandal" that the case was not tried in court.
"You may be an enemy of the state but you are not an enemy of humanity", Lady Gaga told Assange in the video interview, which was released by Wikileaks on Wednesday. Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.
Nye, meanwhile, said the statute of limitations expires in 2020 over the rape allegations.
Elisabeth Massi Fritz says her client is shocked by the Swedish decision but added that "she can't change her view that Assange has exposed her to a rape".