Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Sweden drops rape probe against Julian Assange


The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he juimped bail in 2012, and it "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

Friday was the deadline for the Swedish prosecution to send a request to Stockholm District Court in the Assange case.

He nonetheless called Sweden's decision to drop the rape investigation "an important victory for me and for the United Nations human rights system".

Within minutes of the announcement, the 45-year-old Assange tweeted a picture of himself.

Though this is a much lesser offense, it remains a possibility that if Assange were to leave the premises of that embassy, he might yet be arrested by British police.

"What I do know is that Sweden does not stop him from doing it. Sweden is out of the game", he said. "We are very pleased and very moved, as this marks the end of his nightmare". In his speech, Assange said there are still plenty of legal battles still to wage: "The proper war is just commencing". Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.

He has always denied the claims, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.

Marianne Nye said she had chose to "discontinue" the investigation, although it is unlikely to lead to Mr Assange immediately leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for nearly five 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.

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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.

The investigation had suffered from multiple procedural complications since it began.

WikiLeaks says the ball is now in Britain's court after Sweden's decision to drop its rape investigation of Julian Assange.

Ecuador's foreign minister Guillaume Long said: "Ecuador regrets that the Swedish Prosecutor delayed more than four years in carrying out this interview". The question of his surrender to Sweden, based on the issued European Arrest Warrant, was heard by three courts in England.

Assange's Swedish lawyer last month filed a new motion demanding that the arrest warrant be lifted after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April that arresting Assange would be "a priority".

"Given that the European Arrest Warrant no longer holds, Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the United Kingdom so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador".

Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny said she had made a decision to "discontinue" the investigation into an alleged sex offence, although it is unlikely to lead to Mr Assange immediately leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for nearly five years.

Samuelsson, the lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio he had been in touch with Assange via text message and the Australian had written, "Serious, Oh My God".

Shortly afterward, he lodged his request for asylum in Ecuador and fled to the country's embassy in London.

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