WikiLeaks awaits UK decision on Assange's status
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 1:46
The Swedish prosecutor's office announced on Friday that an investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged rape has been closed.
British police said that Assange would still be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy.
Assange, an Australian national, has previously said that he feared that if he left the embassy he could end up being extradited and face the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing hundreds of thousands o secret US military and diplomatic documents through WikiLeaks, CNN reported.
However a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said that despite Sweden's European arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder being lifted, he was under a separate warrant for the lesser charge of skipping bail.
In documents filed to the Stockholm District Court, Prosecutor Ny said legal obstacles had prevented the case from moving forward.
The Ecuadorean government welcomed the decision and in a statement called on Britain to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. US President Donald Trump last month said he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.
WikiLeaks said on Twitter that the ball was now in the UK's court. Lawyer David Allen Green, who has followed the case, tweeted: "Once outside embassy, Assange more at risk from any United States extradition attempt than if he had gone to Sweden".
During last year's US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton's staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election to Trump.
The preliminary investigation on Assange, 44, was opened in 2010.
A lawyer for the woman who accused Assange of rape slammed the decision to drop the investigation.
Assange, an Australian national, was questioned in November in the presence of a Swedish prosecutor.