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20 May 2017, 02:39 | Darnell Patrick
Julian Assange: Rape investigation against Wikileaks founder dropped
Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, dropped [decision, PDF] the preliminary investigation of rape charges against WikiLeaks [official website] founder Julian Assange on Friday.
On Friday afternoon, Assange appeared on a balcony at the embassy and described the development as "an important victory". Assange could face a trial in the USA over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret United States military and diplomatic documents.
Earlier, Assange had used social media to vent his anger hours after the Swedish prosecution made a decision to drop its rape investigation against him. That is not something I can forgive.
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.
Although the United Kingdom has not commented [CNN report] as to whether it has received an extradition request from the USA, a treaty [BBC report] between to the two countries would allow British authorities to arrest Assange and send him to the US. "We can not expect to receive assistance from Ecuador regarding this".
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.
Sweden's decision coincided with the release by Wikileaks of another tranche of documents about the US Central Intelligence Agency's technical capabilities.
He also says he would be "happy" to discuss the case with the U.S. Department of Justice despite U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying that arresting Assange is a priority. "This was a wholly unnecessary delay".
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange squints in the sunlight as he prepares to speak from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in 2016.
Why has the case been dropped?
British police said separately that it was still under obligation to arrest Assange were he to leave the embassy.
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The Swedish Prosecution Authority said Friday that chief Marianne Ny "has made a decision to discontinue the investigation" and Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Assange. Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Ju.
"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said. "At this point, it is more apparent than ever that the United Kingdom should provide Mr. Assange safe passage to Ecuador".
No. The investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Stockholm - allegations he denies.
He always denied the rape allegations in Sweden and said they were a ploy to get him whisked off to the United States.
He also said the case was politically motivated, as it followed massive Wikileaks dumps of secret U.S. military reports that year.
He claimed asylum in Ecuador in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden - and, he feared, from there to the United States, to face trial for leaking secret USA military and diplomatic documents.
What will happen to Assange now?
Wikileaks tweeted this morning: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a USA extradition warrant for Julian Assange".
"The European Arrest Warrant no longer holds". Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.
British officials said they do not comment on individual extradition cases.
Last month, Mr Samuelson filed a new motion calling for his client's arrest warrant to be lifted.
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