Swedish prosecutor says to drop Assange investigation

Vincent Carr
May 20, 2017

Julian Assange has signalled he will remain inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London despite the Swedish authorities suddenly dropping a seven-year investigation against him.

Sweden's top prosecutor dropped a long-running inquiry into a rape claim against Assange on Friday, saying there was no way to detain or charge him "in the foreseeable future" because of his protected status inside the embassy.

Earlier Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said the rape investigation could not proceed because of legal obstacles.

"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said.

She also made a recent window appearance as it was announced that Marianne Nye, Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution, had chose to drop her investigation against Mr Assange.

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

Assange is wanted by British police for extradition to Sweden. His children had grown up without him, he said.

Ny told reporters that the WikiLeaks founder had "tried to dodge all attempts at arrest" by British and Swedish authorities.

However, police in London said they were still obliged to arrest Assange if he left the embassy for skipping bail. He feared that extradition to Sweden would lead to extradition to the USA where he is wanted for leaking thousands of classified documents.

Britain and the United States have an extradition treaty, so if Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy where he's claimed asylum, the British could arrest him and send him to the US.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, tweeted Friday that Britain "must now grant safe passage" to Assange. The South American country has granted him asylum, but it is not clear how Assange would travel there without the permission of British authorities.

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Prosecutors frustrated by Assange's refusal to return to Sweden for questioning eventually came to London to meet with him at the Ecuadorean Embassy previous year.

However, he could now finally leave the Knightsbridge address.

The day began with the dramatic announcement in Sweden that the rape investigation was being suspended. "The UK has said it will arrest me regardless". President Donald Trump has said it is "OK" with him if Sessions does that.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has branded WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that Assange's arrest is a priority.

She has since been a supporter of Mr Assange, saying "you may be an enemy of the state but you are not an enemy of humanity" in a video that was released by WikiLeaks to mark Chelsea Manning's release from prison.

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

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

"UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a USA extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted. They surfaced after the women accused Assange of sexual misconduct during a visit to Stockholm in 2010.

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.

The Ecuadorian government is to step up efforts to allow Mr Assange to continue his asylum in its country after Sweden's Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny said she had made a decision to "discontinue" her investigation.

There were initially two separate allegations being investigated, but one was dropped in 2015 because the statute of limitations ran out.

Other reports by BadHub

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