FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday May 19, 2017, she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after almost seven years. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
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Swedish prosecutor drops rape investigation of Assange

22 Comments
By DAVID KEYTON and GREGORY KATZ

Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after almost seven years.

The announcement means the outspoken WikiLeaks leader no longer faces sex crime allegations in Sweden, although British police say he is still wanted in Britain for jumping bail in 2012.

Assange is still inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has lived for nearly five years. Assange has indicated concerns that he may face indictment in the United States for his role at the helm of the WikiLeaks.

"This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants. We have won the Assange case. He is of course happy and relieved. He has been critical that it has lasted that long," Per E Samuelsson, his lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio.

Samuelsson was not immediately available for further comment.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said Friday that chief Marianne Ny "has decided to discontinue the investigation." Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Assange.

Friday was the deadline for the Swedish prosecution to send a request to Stockholm District Court in the Assange case.

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. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is in custody he might ultimately be extradited to the United States.

It is not known if U.S. officials are seeking Assange's arrest because of a possible sealed indictment.

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

WikiLeaks tweeted after the Swedish announcement: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK."

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."

British police said despite Sweden's decision to drop a rape investigation, Assange still faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador's embassy in London.

The Metropolitan Police says there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he jumped bail in 2012, and the force "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy."

But it adds that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offense" than the original sex crimes claims, and police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense."

Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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22 Comments
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After all that isolation, I wonder how he's going to adapt to freedom. That is, if he's not extradited or nicked by the Met.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good day for freedom of speech and holding those in power accountable to the public that they are supposed to serve in effect though he has served 5 years in confinement.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

He will be arrested by the Met for jumping bail and then handed over to the Americans for extradition. He's still on a lose lose.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

All this and Chlesea Manning released, too. Perhaps there is hope, after all. Not that I agree with all Assange's moves, but still...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Assange is a hero. With more people like him shining light on skeletons in the closet, things would be A LOT better.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

surely if there was no crime committed in Sweden as Julian said many times, then the British govt should be sued for false arrest, harassment, oppression, illegal confinement, wasting taxpayers money, abuse of peoples right of free speech...the list goes on.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Fake charges.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Hero my backside - he's no Snowden, more an ego-maniac that quite possibly sexually assaulted someone.

Good luck with the British police, they won't let it go, officious sods that they all are.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Don't know enough to have an opinion on the case. But if Trump wants him arrested, then I say let him go!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Assange is a hero. With more people like him shining light on skeletons in the closet, things would be A LOT better.

Hero??? I hope and pray he sticks his big toe out of the embassy and they snatch his butt and lock him up and hope he sits in prison for a very, very, very long time.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Assange just likes attention, and he doesn't care who he hurts in order to get it.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

That's the "nice" route they'll try to get him with out of the window. Wonder how long it will be until a "terrorist" levels the embassy?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Pretty slow terrorists around there if they haven't made a move in five years, Northwester.

C'mon Julian, do the right thing and make your mother proud. Stagnancy is no good for anyone. Face the charges and get them out of the way. Then with a clear name you can move forward with your life.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I hope, for the sake of independent free-speech that he makes it to Ecuador. Anything other than that, would be against all that the Western Democratic World is about. i.e. You can't pick & choose rights of freedom when you want to... he's merely the person providing a venue through which people can openly display Stolen goods .... eBay/Rukten/Alibabba should perhaps be concerned too, as they too could be next for the same (less State involved) reason.

Of course, once he's there, that's a different matter. If the US really had a Grudge to fulfil upon him, then his days will probably be numbered - albeit in a sort of Free to move around and be hit, type of existence.

I feel a bit sorry for the guy.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's interesting that the USA who have "freedom of speech" are the very piranhas waiting to snatch him. Shows that country to be a lie.

The Swedish charges were trumped up to begin with as closer examination by those in the know has shown and was a ploy to get him into a US torture jail.

The rabid right are all talk when it comes to fighting government corruption of power

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Absolutely ridiculous. Whole thing is a stitch up.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

His leaks are framed as whistleblowing, but he also loves posting personal and embarrassing information about people which has nothing to do with transparency. There's no reason to post personal memos where one government official says how much they dislike another, but he strikes me as a guy who gets off on doing that to people.

Compare that to Snowden, who released very specific information related to whistleblowing. I believe Snowden when he says he's trying to promote transparency, but I don't believe Assange. Assange works with Russia, dodges rape claims, and creates unnecessary collateral damage, then wants to be above the law while claiming he's exposing others above the law.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Exactly, Super.

Poor little Jules and his pathetic reality show gone wrong. His declaration of "war" couldn't be any more impotent. He's a willing pawn for his main sponsor, the Russian dictator Putin.

I hope he enjoys the rest of his life in that piddly building.

Would the radical left normally let someone off from sexually assault charges ? Charlatans...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

WikiLeaks ,"If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case."

Whether Julian Assange made this pledge or not. Even if Barack Obama clemency of Manning falls short of conditions to that undertaking. Manning alleged testimony insinuating that Assange colluded/steered in identify classified documents to leak, could well see Julian Assange face trail in the US on yet to be publically briefed charges or extradition requests. Julian Assange arrogance has assured imprisonment indefinitely at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.   

Every occasion Assange stands howling from that balcony strengthens the US authorities resolve.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Assange allegedly had sex with two females who were happy to have sex with him on the condition he use a condom. Neither consented to unprotected intercourse with him which is what he proceeded to do.

The left may defend this person, but as far as I am concerned he committed sexual offences by doing things that women did not consent to.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The left may defend this person, but as far as I am concerned he committed sexual offences by doing things that women did not consent to.

Personally I think that Sweden should have taken steps to assure that they would not deport him to the US, thereby removing his excuse for not going and facing the charges. By not doing so, they placed their relationship with America above the right of their citizens to face justice, which is not a good position for a country to take.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The whole America extradition thing was always a wily smokescreen. Like Brer Rabbit, "Don't throw me into the briar patch!"

Say it often enough though and the US will slowly and very reluctantly start to take notice. Not enough to make it real even now, though.

I admire Snowden, and understand Manning's motivation, but Julian? The pain in Assange's neck is his own making.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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