Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Against Wikileaks' Assange

Nick Mcbride
May 20, 2017

Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.

The development could mean that Assange is free to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been hiding for nearly five years to avoid extradition.

Police in London said they were still obliged to arrest Assange if he left the embassy for skipping bail. Assange has indicated concerns that he may face indictment in the United States for his role at the helm of the WikiLeaks.

Friday was the deadline for prosecutors to renew or lift the warrant for Assange's arrest.

In documents filed to the Stockholm District Court, Prosecutor Ny said legal obstacles had prevented the case from moving forward. Breaching bail is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long urged Britain to "grant safe passage" out of the country to Assange.

Last month, President Donald Trump said he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

WikiLeaks said on Twitter that the ball was now in the UK's court.

US authorities have been investigating Assange and WikiLeaks since at least 2010, when the site posted thousands of cables stolen by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

During last year's USA presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton's staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election to Trump.

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

A lawyer for Assange welcomed the decision of prosecutors to drop the seven-year rape investigation against him, saying it was the "end of his nightmare".

Other reports by VgToday

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