Julian Assange hails "victory" as Sweden drops rape probe, still facing arrest

Swedish prosecutors announced they have dropped a rape investigation involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecution, has chose to "discontinue the preliminary investigation", the Swedish Prosecution Authority announced on May 19, the deadline for prosecutor to either renew or lift Assange's European arrest warrant before a Stockholm court. Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny speaks during a press conference in Stockholm on Friday May 19, 2017. However, Assange still faces arrest from United Kingdom officials for "minor charges", if he were to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been holed up for the last five years.

Prime Minister Theresa May said any decision about Assange will be an operational matter for the British police to decide.

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange welcomed the decision of Swedish prosecutors today to drop a seven-year rape investigation against him, saying it was the "end of his nightmare".

"The Metropolitan Police should drop their claim of arrest and allow Julian Assange to leave the embassy".

Assange was under investigation in Sweden for suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and coercion.

Assange, who has been living in London's Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 to hide from Swedish authorities, may not have to fear arrest from Swedish authorities, but his legal woes are not over.

The London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) claims that Assange faces the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court.

Assange previously promised to leave the embassy "soon" - in August 2014. If he were to be extradited to the US, he could face charges related to WikiLeaks, which posted thousands of classified military documents leaked by Chelsea Manning in 2010.

Assange has disputed the rape allegations.

Assange's lawyer, Per Samuelson, said in an email statement that Assange had "proved his innocence". "The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence", it said.

If Assange is arrested, it remains unclear whether he risks being extradited to the US.

As recently as April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said arresting Assange was a "priority," the BBC reported, even though formal charges against Assange and WikiLeaks hadn't been filed.

  • Leroy Wright