Wikileaks founder defiant after rape inquiry dropped

Ruben Ruiz
May 20, 2017

Assange said his lawyers had contacted British authorities in the hope of starting a "dialogue" over his future, after the police said they would be "obliged" to execute an arrest warrant against him if he left the embassy.

He says his battle is not over, and "the proper war is just commencing".

Assange, 45, has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.

He feared that if he was in custody he might ultimately be extradited to the United States for his role at the helm of WikiLeaks, which has published tens of thousands of leaked classified United States government documents. In prison, under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last month he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, said Britain should now grant Assange "safe passage", and repeated his government's offer of asylum to the Australian whistle-blower.

Ny's play-acting in Stockholm shows that she is less concerned with the woman's right to her day in court than with continuing a low-intensity propaganda war against Assange.

WikiLeaks has repeatedly infuriated US officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world.

Most uncertain for Assange is whether the United States has issued a secret arrest and extradition warrant in connection with his assistance to Chelsea Manning, who was released from prison this week after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, in stealing and revealing USA secrets. "Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted.

On Friday, the British Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service said they would not comment on any possible extradition request.

Assange could fight any USA extradition request in the British courts, a process that could take years.

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"Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the United Kingdom so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador", the country's foreign minister Guillaume Long wrote in a statement. The South American country has granted him asylum.

Earlier, Assange had used social media to vent his anger hours after the Swedish prosecution made a decision to drop its rape investigation against him.

She accused him of having sex with her as she slept without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wanted to crack down on leaks and thus go after Assange, but Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times that Assange did nothing wrong.

The allegation by her lawyer Elisabeth Fritz that Assange has deliberately obstructed the judicial process because he was "afraid" neglects to acknowledge that Assange's fear is not confined to being found guilty of rape. She said the WikiLeaks founder had "tried to dodge all attempts at arrest" by British and Swedish authorities. Ny has already said that she will swiftly reinstate the case if Assange returns to Sweden.

A lawyer on Assange's legal team, Per Samuelsson, told Swedish radio the decision was "a total victory", saying that Assange was "of course happy and relieved".

Swedish authorities announced Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny chose to "discontinue" the long-running investigation of suspected rape, while saying she was unable to judge whether Assange was guilty or not.

"The truth is, he gave a very good explanation: this was consensual sex between two adults and nothing else".

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.

FILE: Chelsea Manning, the transgender US Army soldier responsible for a massive leak of classified material, poses in a photo of herself for the first time since she was released from prison and post to social media on May 18, 2017. They said this was a much less serious offense than rape, but he could still face up to a year in jail if convicted.

Other reports by GizPress

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