Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Sweden drops rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange


Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange has said he will not forgive or forget the rape allegation or investigation that forced him to seek asylum and stay at Ecuador's embassy in London for five years.

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

In his ten minute speech, Assange also pointed to the release of theAmerican whistleblower and former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) who landed in prison after she leaked almost 750,000 military files and cables to WikiLeaks.

In a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, he slammed the circumstances that led him to take refuge there and termed it "detention".

Assange posted a picture of himself smiling broadly to his Twitter account soon after the Swedish authorities' announcement Friday.

The police statement said Assange was previously wanted for "an extremely serious offence" in Sweden and the police presence around the embassy had "reflected the serious nature of that crime".

However, British authorities announced that they would still arrest Assange if he were to leave the Ecuadorian embassy because he failed to surrender for extradition to Sweden in 2012.

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Wikileaks staff are working to get the U.S. Government to drop charges against Assange. Breaching bail is punishable by up to one year in prison. He also argued that he risked being extradited by Sweden to the United States and tried for espionage.

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.

According to a message from WikiLeaks on the social network twitter, the United Kingdom refuses to "confirm or deny" if it already received a USA demand for the extradition of Assange.

If Assange were to enter Sweden before the statute of limitations on the case expire in August 2020, the investigation may be resumed. "Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the anti-secrecy website tweeted. "It's a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court", the lawyer said.

He didn't win the election, but his denouncement of Assange could reflect a growing concern of Ecuadoreans about being linked to Assange and the leaking of confidential information.

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