Sweden drops case, but WikiLeaks' Assange not in the clear

Sweden drops case but WikiLeaks Assange is not in the clear

Swedish prosecutors dropped an investigation on Friday of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for almost five years.

The Swedish investigation into alleged rape allegations against Assange has been dropped days after Chelsea Manning, who provided Wikileaks with classified intelligence on Iraq and Afghanistan that shocked the world, was freed from prison in the US.

Although Sweden has dropped its investigation of rape allegations against Assange, British police say they still intend to arrest him on a charge of jumping bail if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy. Ny said the case could be reopened if Assange comes to Sweden before the statute of limitations expires in 2020.

Assange, 45, took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape allegation, which he denies.

Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly infuriated USA officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world.

Mr Assange said the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether there is a warrant from the US for his extradition, insisting he was happy to talk to the US Justice Department.

Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny said she had made a decision to "discontinue" the investigation into an alleged sex offence, although it is unlikely to lead to Mr Assange immediately leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for nearly five years.

In 2010, in collaboration with publications such as the The Guardian, WikiLeaks released more than a quarter of a million classified cables from United States embassies.

"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 Metropolitan Police (MPS) statement came as it emerged that Swedens director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, had made a decision to drop the rape investigation into the Wikileaks founder. WikiLeaks claims that the focus now lies on the United Kingdom government. "He has been critical that it has lasted that long", Samuelsson said.

British police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded £11 million (over $24 million at the time).

Both U.S. and British officials have declined to comment on whether there is a warrant for Assange's arrest. The South American country has granted him asylum.

No. The investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Stockholm - allegations he denies.

"In view of the fact that all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted, it appears that it is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence". Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after.

Samuelson tells The Associated Press that "this was consensual sex between two adults and nothing else", adding Assange was now "a free man".

The Crown Prosecution Service said that following the Swedish authorities' decision to drop the investigation, a European Arrest Warrant against him was discharged at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

"The important distinction is that her sentence was commuted by then president Barack Obama".

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