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Swedish prosecutor drops rape investigation of Julian Assange
19 May 2017, 10:06 | Marion Schneider
President Donald Trump has said it is "OK" with him if Sessions does that.
Per E. Samuelson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, told The Associated Press that it was a "day of victory" for the WikiLeaks founder. "I do not forgive or forget".
He says says his battle is not over, and "the proper war is just commencing".
The 45-year-old Australian has always denied the allegations, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and put on trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.
In a letter sent to the Swedish government on May 8, Ecuador condemned "the obvious lack of progress" in the investigation despite Assange's questioning in the presence of the Swedish prosecutor at the embassy in November 2016.
Long added: "Ecuador was clear from the outset that it would fully co-operate with the Swedish justice system".
But it adds that Assange is.
Assange sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 and has been living there since, fearing subsequent extradition to the US. Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren were briefing reporters on the decision in Stockholm. He said Assange had convinced Swedish prosecutors during a November meeting past year that he was not guilty of any sex offenses.
"Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter".
"At this point, all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted".
She said the case could be reopened if Assange returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations expires in 2020.
The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, told a news conference in Stockholm that she could make no judgment on Assange's guilt or innocence.
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"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said.
Sweden's director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny had earlier said on Friday that Assange's arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice of his alleged crimes. She said the WikiLeaks founder had "tried to dodge all attempts at arrest" by British and Swedish authorities. "My assessment is the transfer can not be carried out in a foreseeable future".
The European arrest warrant was issued in 2010 after two women came forward saying they had been sexually assaulted by Assange.
"This implies that we can now demonstrate that the USA has a will to take action. this is why we ask for the arrest warrant to be cancelled so that Julian Assange can fly to Ecuador and enjoy his political asylum", he told AFP at the time.
British police said despite Sweden's decision to drop the rape investigation, Assange still faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador's embassy in London. The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he juimped bail in 2012, and it "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".
It added: "The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are now wanted in the Capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners".
Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until past year, when the operation was scaled back.
British police have declared that they are still obliged to arrest him. Until Friday, Britain was bound to honor Sweden's extradition request before any warrant from the United States.
Asked if she would support the United Kingdom extraditing Assange to the US, May said: "We look at extradition requests when we receive them on a case-by-case basis".
When the Swedish announcement was made on Friday, WikiLeaks commented through its Twitter account that the "focus now moves to the UK".
Sweden's decision to drop the rape investigation against Assange comes against the backdrop of the release from prison of WikiLeaks' possibly most important whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, who leaked over 700,000 secret U.S. government documents back in 2010. "Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence", it said. Despite Friday's announcement, he's unlikely to walk out of the embassy imminently.
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