Julian Assange: Rape investigation against Wikileaks founder dropped

Pauline Gross
May 20, 2017

LONDON (AP) - Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange, nearly seven years after it began and five years after the WikiLeaks founder sought refuge inside Ecuador's London embassy.

The plaintiff in the rape case was "shocked" by the decision, her lawyer said, and maintained her accusations against Mr Assange, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement Friday that Marianne Ny "has chose to discontinue the investigation".

The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, told a news conference in Stockholm that she could make no judgment on Assange's guilt or innocence.

Assange leaves the embassy and is arrested, but moves quickly through the British court's process, before being given a minor fine.

The sun-starved WikiLeaks provocateur, looking healthy if pale, emerged Friday afternoon to address the media in the open air of the embassy's balcony.

After reportedly giving 50 hours of interviews about his life and the work of WikiLeaks to his Scottish ghost-writer Andrew O'Hagan, Mr Assange had a change of heart and wanted to cancel his contract for the memoir after reading a first draft of the book. His children had grown up without him, he said. "My assessment is the transfer can not be carried out in a foreseeable future", Ms Ny told reporters.

London's Metropolitan Police force says that it "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

That's unclear. Assange suspects there is a secret USA indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, which has infuriated US officials.

The former computer hacker enraged Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret USA diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical US appraisals of world leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Saudi royal family.

He feared being extradited to the United States if sent to Sweden.

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Friday's announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden. Ecuador has granted Mr. Assange asylum. Another five years in Ecuador's London embassy? He did not take shouted questions from the reporters assembled outside and would not say if he plans to leave the embassy located in the posh Knightsbridge neighborhood. But some experts said the development would put him in an even more precarious legal situation, if the USA has a sealed indictment for his arrest.

CIA director Mike Pompeo has described Wikileaks as a "hostile intelligence service", fuelling fears by Mr Assange's supporters that America will push hard to extradite him.

"We will seek to put some people in jail", Sessions said. She was freed Wednesday, having had her sentence commuted by former President Barack Obama before he left office.

The MPS said it would "not comment further on the operational plan".

"Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012", the department said in a statement.

WikiLeaks complained about the lack of clarity in Assange's legal situation.

Wikileaks tweeted this morning: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a United States extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to United Kingdom".

He always denied the rape allegations in Sweden and said they were a ploy to get him whisked off to the United States. They surfaced after the women accused Assange of sexual misconduct during a visit to Stockholm in 2010.

Assange is a cyber hero to some for exposing government abuses of power and championing free speech, but to others is a criminal who has undermined the security of the West.

There were initially two separate allegations being investigated, but one was dropped in 2015 because the statute of limitations ran out. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.

Other reports by GizPress

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