Text of Swedish prosecutor's decision to drop Assange probe
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 5:36
Prosecutors frustrated by Assange's refusal to return to Sweden for questioning eventually came to London to meet with him at the Ecuadorean Embassy past year.
British police on Friday threatened to arrest WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London after Swedish prosecutors said they would drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against him.
Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped their investigation, but Assange still faces the risk of arrest in Britain, and he fears he will be extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents. "My assessment is that the surrender can not be executed in the foreseeable future".
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has won his battle against extradition to Sweden, which wanted to question him about a rape allegation. Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to USA authorities who could prosecute him for publishing the documents and possibly sentence him to death.
Out of four sex crimes allegations against Assange, three - unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation - expired in 2015 due to statutes of limitations under Swedish law, while the investigation for the remaining rape allegation, which had an expiration date of 2020, was dropped on Friday. He has spent almost five years inside the Embassy of Ecuador in London to avoid being sent to Sweden, which announced Friday that the investigation has been discontinued.
Assange has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women.
At the point when a prosecutor has exhausted the possibilities to continue the investigation, the prosecutor is obliged to discontinue the investigation. Wikileaks claimed the United Kingdom would arrest Assange "regardless".
He said he believed Assange would try to move to Ecuador.
But over time, it has increasingly set its sights on the USA, and even come under suspicion that it might be working with Russian Federation, claims that Assange has denied. Ms Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Mr Assange.
Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke his arrest warrant, apparently ending a seven-year stand-off, the BBC reported. "It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence". Mr. Sessions has expressed a desire to arrest Assange, stating that the Justice Department would prioritize the prosecution of any operatives who leak classified information, potentially placing US national security at risk.
A lawyer on Assange's legal team, Per Samuelsson, told Swedish radio the decision was "a total victory", saying that Assange was "of course happy and relieved".
Assange, an Australian citizen, tweeted a photo of himself smiling after the news from Sweden broke.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in April that Assange should not be afforded constitutional free speech protections in the U.S. Text messages from one of the alleged victims in 2010 had long ago confirmed that "it was the police who made up the charges" against Assange.
Assange said Friday his legal team would contact United Kingdom officials to seek a way forward in resolving his status. It has been an expensive standoff: Assange's first three-year stay in the Ecuadorean embassy alone cost the British taxpayers £11.1 million ($14.4 million).
Despite the welcome news from Sweden, police in London said Friday that Assange is still wanted there for jumping bail in 2012.
Prime Minister Theresa May said any decision about Assange will be an operational matter for the British police to decide.