Sweden dropping probe against WikiLeaks founder
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 2:05
Sweden's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke his arrest warrant, ending a seven-year stand-off.
Assange, who has always denied wrongdoing, has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, in an effort to avoid a Swedish arrest warrant. Assange believes the United States wants him extradited and arrested in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement Friday that Marianne Ny "has made a decision to discontinue the investigation".
He has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012, claiming political asylum in order to escape a European Arrest Warrant over the claim.
"The UK has refused to confirm or deny whether it has already received a United States extradition warrant for Julian Assange".
Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.
Ny told reporters that prosecutors had been unable to make a full assessment of the case and were not making a finding on whether Assange was guilty or innocent of the allegations.
American authorities have prepared charges to seek Arrange's arrest, CNN reported, citing USA officials familiar with the matter.
Although the global sexual assault investigation has now been discontinued, Metropolitan Police said he still faces arrest for the lesser charge of failing to surrender himself earlier in the process. But some experts said the development would put him in an even more precarious legal situation, if the US has a sealed indictment for his arrest. He has refused to return to the Scandinavian country, citing risks he will be extradited to the United States over the release of secret documents.
"The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence", it added.
"Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence".
"This unnecessary delay was despite the repeated insistence from the Ecuadorian government - ever since the granting of asylum in 2012 - that this interview was not only possible but that Ecuador would facilitate its carrying out in our Embassy". Until that's confirmed either way, it's unlikely he will risk leaving the embassy.
Mr Assange has denied that he was given the leaked documents by Russian Federation, although he has refused to say where he got them.
WikiLeaks has repeatedly infuriated US officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world. "Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted.
Prime Minister Theresa May earlier said any extradition case would be looked at on a "case-by-case basis". WikiLeaks also had a provocative role in the 2016 US presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.
Three other cases of alleged sexual assault against Assange were dropped in 2014 due to a Swedish statute of limitations.
Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks.
Assange has said that all the sex was consensual.
The transgender former United States intelligence analyst left Fort Leavenworth on Wednesday, months after Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence as one of his final acts as President.
British police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).