Swedish prosecutors drop Julian Assange rape investigation
May 22, 2017, 15:21
So for now, the director's dropped the investigation, and revoked the warrant for Assange.
Assange has always denied the allegations against him, claiming the sex was consensual and that the case was politically motivated to get him extradited to the United States as it followed massive Wikileaks dumps of secret USA military reports that year.
After that, the investigation stalled.
In 2015, the sexual assault charges against Assange were dropped after the statue of limitations expired, but the rape investigation remained open until Friday.
However, Assange is still not a free man, since he can be prosecuted anytime till 2020 if he chooses to return to Sweden.
Assange's lawyer Per Samuelson said the drop of the investigation is a "total victory" for them. He claimed they were made up as part of a plot to see him extradited to the U.S. over his involvement with WikiLeaks.
Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny attends a press conference in Stockholm on Friday May 19, 2017. Despite that, London police said they are still obliged to arrest Assange if he left the embassy, because he breached bail conditions by failing to hand himself in for extradition to Sweden. The Metropolitan Police, however, swiftly confirmed it would still arrest the Australian over the lesser charge of skipping bail in 2012 when he sought asylum.
Manning, a transgender woman and US soldier, was convicted of espionage in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in an all-male prison.
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"So we won't make any statements on the issue of guilt", the Swedish prosecution claims.
That's unclear. Assange suspects there is a secret US indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, which has infuriated USA officials.
Assange said the claim that the United Kingdom had the right to arrest him for seeking asylum when no charges had been laid against him was "simply untenable".
Friday was the deadline for prosecutors to renew or lift the warrant for Assange's arrest.
Mr Assange thanked the government of Ecuador for granting him political asylum despite "intense pressure", as well as his legal team and others who had stood by him.
"As a result of the decision to discontinue the investigation, the prosecutor has reversed the decision to detain him in his absence and withdrawn the EAW (European Arrest Warrant)".
Assange had disputed the allegations and argued that he risked being extradited from Sweden to the United States and tried for espionage. In this case, there have been many twists and the wait has been very long.
November 14-15 - Assange is interviewed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
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