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Text of Swedish prosecutor's decision to drop Assange probe

19 May 2017, 10:48 | Darnell Patrick

Swedish prosecutor drops rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Assange

At a press conference in Quito, Long called on Britain allow Assange safe passage so he could take up his asylum in Ecuador.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted a photo of himself smiling on Friday morning, just minutes after news broke that Sweden's director of public prosecution is dropping the investigation into an allegation of rape made against him.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published over half a million classified U.S. military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Assange meanwhile guest-starred as himself in an episode of "The Simpsons", recording his lines over the phone from the Ecuadoran embassy.

"If Assange went into British custody then the Swedes may well revisit their decision on proportionality, as extradition suddenly easier", he tweeted.

"This implies that we can now demonstrate that the United States 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 said at the time.

That's unclear. Assange suspects there is a secret USA indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, which has infuriated US officials. Again, the group denied the accusation.

Through means of legal assistance provided by the Ecuadorian Republic, Ecuadorian prosecutors interviewed Julian Assange on 14-15 November 2016 in London. They surfaced after the women accused Assange of sexual misconduct during a visit to Stockholm in 2010.

But she said that because of the law, the investigation can not be reopened unless Assange returns to Sweden.

Assange had always denied the rape allegation against him, and his accuser said in a statement that she was "shocked" the investigation had ended - describing it as a "scandal".

Ny told reporters that prosecutors had been unable to make a full assessment of the case and were not making a finding on whether Assange was guilty or innocent of the allegations.

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Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecutions, said the investigation could be reopened if Assange returns to Sweden before August 2020, when the statute of limitations on the allegations against him ends. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's future could now follow many different paths.

It is not known whether US authorities have officially requested Assange's arrest.

Assange's lawyer Per Samuelson hailed Sweden's decision to drop the investigation as "a total victory for us".

"It is a complete victory for Assange". He is free to leave the embassy when he wants.

"UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange". He is of course happy and relieved.

Police in London have said they would still be obliged to arrest Mr Assange if he left the Ecuadorean embassy, despite the Swedish prosecutors' decision.

"The first thing one likely needs to do is seek guarantees from the British authorities that he won't be seized in some other way", she told news agency TT, as cited by The Local.

He nonetheless called Sweden's decision to drop the rape investigation "an important victory for me and for the United Nations human rights system". That same month, Swedish authorities launched a probe against Assange after two women aged 25 and 35 years each told police that they had allegedly been sexually molested by him.

British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed US indictment against him.

But London's Metropolitan Police added that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offense" than the original sex crimes claims, so police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense".



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