Sweden has dropped its seven-year old rape investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s prosecutor said Friday.
In a statement, Sweden’s public prosecution service said its director Marianne Ny “has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange.”
“At the press conference today, Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren will give information about the decision,” the statement said.
However, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that they remain obliged to to execute a warrant for Assange issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court following his failure to surrender to the court in 2012, and Assange “remains wanted for a much less serious offence.”
Shortly after the news was announced, Assange tweeted this picture:
The case against Assange began in the summer of 2010, soon after WikiLeaks published the Afghan War Logs leaked by Chelsea Manning. Two WikiLeaks supporters alleged Assange had failed to use a condom during sex without their consent, and one said he had penetrated her as she slept.
Assange was arrested and given bail by Sweden, but refused to return to the country for questioning and possible charging.
After losing a series of legal appeals against extradition up to the UK supreme court, Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 and claimed asylum. Assange has long insisted his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy is unrelated to the Swedish case, but instead related to possible extradition to the USA in connection with WikiLeaks’ activities.
Swedish prosecutors pursued a number of allegations of rape and sexual assault, though the sexual assault charges were dropped due to statute of limitation rules in 2015, leaving only a single charge remaining by the time Assange was finally questioned in the Ecuadorian embassy last year.
In February, BuzzFeed News revealed Swedish prosecutors had finally obtained transcripts of his interview from Ecuadorian authorities, but that these answers – which Assange had given in English – had all been translated into Spanish. The prosecuting authority then had to spend weeks re-translating the interviews before evaluating it and reaching its eventual decision to drop the case.
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