Sweden drops rape charge against Wikileaks founder

20 May, 2017, 09:59 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Journalists gather outside the Ecuadorian embassy where Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange is taking refuge in London Britain

"Assange has long insisted his stay in the embassy is unrelated to the Swedish case, but instead related to possible extradition to the U.S. in connection with WikiLeaks' activities", says Buzzfeed.

"We are not making a statement about his guilt", Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said.

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

Sweden on Friday dropped its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for suspected rape, though he still faces arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has received diplomatic asylum for nearly five years.

The Swedish prosecutor's office announced on Friday that an investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged rape has been closed.

But the picture is more complicated than that.

Assange, 45, who denied committing any sex offenses related to allegations made by two women in Sweden in 2010, has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012.

Assange faces arrest by British police on charges of skipping bail and also fears extradition to the USA over WikiLeaks' publication of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

After that, the investigation stalled.

Assange isn't completely out of the woods yet on rape allegations with prosecutors in Sweden claiming they can re-open the investigation if he returns to the country by 2020, when the statute of limitations ends.

It said: "Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime".

Assange also said the release of Chelsea Manning this week a "even more important" victory.

"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said. All these years, he has been denying the rape allegation claiming it is a plot to bring him to the United States.

"But it by no means erases the years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight, seven years without charge while my children grew up without me".

Manning, a transgender woman and US soldier, was convicted of espionage in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in an all-male prison.

Ecuador under leftist President Rafael Correa granted Assange asylum in its London embassy in 2012.

The WikiLeaks founder claimed Sweden might have extradited him to the US, where he could face charges for leaking sensitive USA government information. "The UK said it would arrest me regardless..."

In doing so, he has escaped all attempts by the Swedish and British authorities to execute the decision to surrender him to Sweden in accordance with the EU rules concerning the European Arrest Warrant. But some experts said the development would put him in an even more precarious legal situation, if the US has a sealed indictment for his arrest.

He said he was prepared to talk to United Kingdom and USA authorities about his position despite "extremely threatening remarks" being made.

Asked if Britain would now support a request to extradite Assange to the United States, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We look at extradition requests on a case-by-case basis". That is no longer the case.

It's not known if US officials have asked British police to arrest Assange because of a possible sealed USA indictment against him.

He remains defiant. "Detained for seven years without charge while my children grew up and my name was slandered", he said on Twitter. On Friday, the group released what it said were new details of Central Intelligence Agency cyberespionage tools.

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