U.S.

Sweden drops Assange investigation, United Kingdom police says he still faces arrest

Sweden drops Assange investigation, United Kingdom police says he still faces arrest

Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecution, said in a statement that the rape investigation was dropped because "there is no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future".

Organizers of a protest calling for Julian Assange to be allowed to freely leave the Ecuadorian Embassy say a police threat to arrest the WikiLeaks founder is "beyond the pale".

Earlier this month, Per Samuelson, a lawyer for Assange, said he filed a request in Sweden to rescind a detention order against him.

In a statement released on Friday, the British police confirmed it is obliged to arrest Assange should he leave the Ecuadorian Embassy.

But it adds that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offense" than the original sex crimes claims, and police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense".

Assange was interviewed by Sweden's deputy public prosecutor, Ingrid Isgren, in the embassy in November, following a lengthy diplomatic and legal impasse between the Swedish and Ecuadorian authorities.

The letter raised questions about developments in the USA since the election of Donald Trump as president, including a speech by the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, describing WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service" and a threat to United States national security.

Assange, 45, took refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape allegation, which he denies.

Marianne Nye said she had made a decision 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. Therefore the investigation is discontinued.

Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped the 7-year-old rape case against Wikileak's founder Julian Assange.




Mr Assange thanked the government of Ecuador for granting him political asylum despite "intense pressure", as well as his legal team and others who had stood by him.

She told a press conference in Stockholm that the investigation could be reopened if Mr Assange returns to Sweden before the allegation against him elapses under Swedish law in August 2020.

The European arrest warrant was issued in 2010 after two women came forward saying they had been sexually assaulted by Assange. Assange believes the United States wants him extradited and arrested in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of classified USA documents.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo last month called WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to a question about Assange, said the administration was stepping up its efforts against all leaks of sensitive information.

Ny told reporters that the WikiLeaks founder had "tried to dodge all attempts at arrest" by British and Swedish authorities.

British police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded $17.5 million at the time.

Assange's Swedish lawyer declared the decision of the Swedish prosecutors to drop the rape charges as a "victory" for his client.

When the Swedish announcement was made on Friday, WikiLeaks commented through its Twitter account that the "focus now moves to the UK".

Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.


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