Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Prosecutor saw no chance of extraditing Assange

Prosecutor saw no chance of extraditing Assange

He spoke of Friday's announcement as a "vindication" and an "important victory", thanking the Ecuadorean people but also warning that "the proper war is just commencing". Assange, 45, believes the United States wants him extradited and arrested in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of classified USA documents.

"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", she added. The Australian national has been there ever since, fearing eventual extradition to the US and a potential trial over the leaking of secret American documents.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange's legal team, welcomed the "wonderful news".

June 19: Assange enters Ecuadorean embassy in central London, seeking asylum.

It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).

He said recent comments by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump in favour of arresting the Australian reaffirm Ecuador's belief that the rape charges against him were politically motivated and that Assange still faces a serious risk of prosecution. We have won the Assange case.

"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", lawyer Per Samuelsson told AFP at the time.

It's not known if US officials have asked British police to arrest Assange because of a possible sealed USA indictment against him.

WikiLeaks tweeted after the Swedish announcement: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted.

Assange could fight any US extradition request in the British courts, a process that could take years. "Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence", it said.

Ecuador's government asked the United Kingdom to give Mr Assange safe passage in order to allow him asylum in the South American nation. The South American country has granted him asylum, but it is not clear how Assange would travel there without the permission of British authorities.

Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny announced in a statement that she "has made a decision to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape" by Assange.

Authorities launched an investigation in 2010 after two women came forward accusing Assange of rape and sexual assault. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.

She accused him of having sex with her as she slept without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.

Assange has said the sex was consensual. She says: "We don't make any statement of guilty or not".

The Wikileaks founder also sent a celebratory tweet.

.

A lawyer for the woman who alleged she was raped by Assange said "it's a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court".

Julian Assange says Sweden's decision to drop a rape inveatigation against him is "an important victory for me and for the United Nations human rights system". "He has been critical that it has lasted that long", Per E. Samuelsson, his lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio.

Marianne Nye said she had chose to "discontinue" the investigation, 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. "And he's a free man", Samuelson said. In October, WikiLeaks releases another 400,000 classified military files chronicling the war in Iraq from 2004 to 2009, the largest leak of its kind in US military history. WikiLeaks also had a provocative role in the 2016 USA presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks.

Katz reported from London.

Like this: