Julian Assange Rape Inquiry Is Dropped but His Legal Problems Remain Daunting
- Author: Salvatore Jensen May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 6:43
ECUADOR'S government has said it will step up efforts to ensure Julian Assange is allowed to travel to the South American which granted him asylum in 2012, after Swedish prosecutors suddenly dropped a seven-year investigation into the WikiLeaks founder.
He is wanted by British police for breaching bail conditions - and WikiLeaks is concerned this could result in him being extradited to the United States, where he would face prosecution for publishing swathes of classified military and diplomatic documents.
While the WikiLeaks website was registered in 2006, the group began its operations in 2007, with Assange saying it would use encryption and a censorship-proof website to protect sources and publicise secret information.
Should Assange enter Sweden before August 2020, when the statute of limitations expires for the last remaining allegation, of minor rape, she said, the investigation could be reopened.
British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed USA indictment against him.
"But it by no means erases the years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight, seven years without charge while my children grew up without me".
"It is extremely worrying that six months after the hearing at the Embassy of Ecuador in the United Kingdom, the Swedish prosecutor's office has not yet decided on the judicial situation of Julian Assange", the Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry said in the letter seen by AFP.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said it would be up to police to decide if Assange should be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Sweden was dropping the inquiry, Ny said, because she simply saw no way forward and "we don't make any statement of guilty or not".
British authorities have vowed to arrest Assange for failing to show up for court in 2012.
But London's Metropolitan Police added that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offense" than the original sex crimes claims, so police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense".
However, Scotland Yard has said that it has an obligation to enforce the arrest warrant on Assange a lesser charge of skipping bail.
Just last month, the Trump administration's Justice Department was reported to be reconsidering whether to charge Assange. 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".
Earlier, Assange had used social media to vent his anger hours after the Swedish prosecution made a decision to drop its rape investigation against him.
Police say an arrest warrant remains active for Assange for breaching his bail conditions, after he failed to appear in court to accept his extradition. In December, he spoke for the first time on the allegations, releasing a statement and documents as he claimed he was "entirely innocent".
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wanted to crack down on leaks and thus go after Assange, but Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times that Assange did nothing wrong.
Assange stays right where he is, in the red-brick flat at 3 Hans Crescent, continuing his work with WikiLeaks.
Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks.