Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

May 20, 2017, 01:56
Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

The Swedish prosecutor's office announced on Friday that an investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged rape has been closed.

The 45-year-old has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid facing charges in Sweden.

British police said despite Sweden's decision to drop a rape investigation, Assange still faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador's embassy in London.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that any action concerning Assange were he to leave the embassy would be an operational matter for the British police. He has always denied wrongdoing. Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Assange.

In documents filed to the Stockholm District Court, Prosecutor Ny said legal obstacles had prevented the case from moving forward.

Chelsea Manning was released from prison on Wednesday after serving seven years of her 35-year sentence, which was commuted by Barack Obama as one of his final acts as President.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long urged Britain to "grant safe passage" out of the country to Assange. Lawyer David Allen Green, who has followed the case, tweeted: "Once outside embassy, Assange more at risk from any USA extradition attempt than if he had gone to Sweden". US intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the emails as part of an effort by Moscow to tilt the election in Trump's favour.

The Assange case has raised questions about the Swedish justice system, with a United Nations panel saying Assange had been subject to "arbitrary detention".

Prosecutors have been accused of vacillating, first dropping the preliminary investigation and then re-opening it and of dragging their heels over questioning Assange.

Prosecutors first interviewed Assange in November previous year in the Ecuadorean embassy.

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".

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