Sweden drops case, but WikiLeaks' Assange not in the clear

Sweden shuts down Julian Assange rape investigation

Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Against Julian Assange

Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women.

Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years. In a court document seen by Reuters, chief prosecutor Marianne Ny said there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward.

Scotland Yard said it was obliged to execute a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court for the arrest of Mr Assange following his failure to surrender to the court in June 2012, should he leave the embassy.

The sun-starved WikiLeaks provocateur, looking healthy if pale, emerged Friday afternoon to address the media in the open air of the embassy's balcony.

Friday's announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.

"What I do know is that Sweden does not stop him from doing it. Sweden is out of the game", he said.

"That is not something I can forgive, or forget", he said, claiming he had suffered a "terrible injustice" while living under house arrest or hidden away inside the embassy without ever being charged with a crime.

Assange has always denied the rape claims, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents. In April 2017, officials told CNN the Department of Justice was preparing charges for Assange related to the document leaks.

WikiLeaks also had a role in the 2016 USA presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, tweeted Friday that Britain "must now grant safe passage" to Assange.

FILE - In this February 5, 2016 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. But some experts said the development would put him in an even more precarious legal situation, if the USA has a sealed indictment for his arrest.

Julian Assange is now wanted by the US and United Kingdom governments for crimes related to the sexual assault allegations as well as his role in leaking classified USA documents through his website. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has branded WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that Assange's arrest is a priority.

"My client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change (her mind) that Assange exposed her to rape", she said. Manning left prison Wednesday after a 35-year sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama in one of his final acts in office. He said American officials made up the case in an attempt to have him extradited.

LONDON (AP) — Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange, nearly seven years after it began and five years after the WikiLeaks founder sought refuge inside Ecuador's London embassy.

WikiLeaks complained about the lack of clarity in Assange's legal situation.

"UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to United Kingdom".

He argues that the sex was consensual and has denounced the accusations as "politically motived".

No. The investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Stockholm. Swedish prosecutors dropped cases of alleged sexual misconduct when the statute of limitations ran out in 2015, leaving only the rape allegation. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.

In Sweden, Assange's accuser was left stunned by the prosecutors' decision.

The statement, however, noted that Assange was "wanted for a much less serious offence" than before and said the force would "provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence".

Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until previous year, when the operation was scaled back.

Keyton reported from Stockholm.

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