Swedish prosecutor drops rape investigation of Assange

Pauline Gross
May 20, 2017

Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said Friday the investigation into the rape allegations would not proceed because "there's no possibility of arresting Assange in the foreseeable future".

Assange, 45, took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women, which he denies.

Prosecutors said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued and an arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange would be revoked, sparking speculation he would be leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Assange, an Australian national, has previously said that he feared that if he left the embassy he could end up being extradited and face the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing hundreds of thousands o secret USA military and diplomatic documents through WikiLeaks, CNN reported. Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Assange.

Manning was released on Wednesday after spending seven years in a US military prison for passing the documents to WikiLeaks.

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Friday was the deadline for the Swedish prosecution to send a request to Stockholm District Court in the Assange case. Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said Assange was welcome to stay in the embassy if this was not granted.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

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

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".

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

Other reports by GizPress

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