Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

"That is not something I can forgive, or forget", he said, claiming he had suffered a "terrible injustice" while living under house arrest or hidden away inside the embassy without ever being charged with a crime.

Police said a warrant was issued against Assange in 2012 after he failed to hand himself in, adding: "The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

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 U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange's legal team, called attention to the US, telling NBC News that "as long as the national security prosecution continues there continues to be a risk to him".

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

WikiLeaks also had a role in the 2016 USA presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.

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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.

In view of this, and that to continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange's personal appearance in court, there is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation. But some experts said the development would put him in an even more precarious legal situation, if the US has a sealed indictment for his arrest. On 14 June 2012, The Supreme Court issued a final decision ordering the surrender of Julian Assange to Sweden.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has suggested that the arrest of Assange could be an American priority, saying last month the USA was "stepping up our efforts on all leaks". "Although we don't know what is in it", he said.

The huge release of memos known as "cablegate", which embarrassed governments worldwide, would not have been possible had it not been for USA soldier Chelsea Manning, who handed WikiLeaks 700,000 classified documents. She was freed Wednesday, having had her sentence commuted by former President Barack Obama before he left office.

British officials said they do not comment on individual extradition cases.

Today, they said Assange was previously wanted for "an extremely serious offence" in Sweden and the police presence around the embassy had "reflected the serious nature of that crime". However, Scotland Yard quickly responded to the news by warning Assange that he would be arrested if he attempted to leave the embassy. "Focus now moves to UK", WikiLeaks said in a tweet after the announcement in Sweden. Assange has denied the allegations. A judge in Stockholm upholds the warrant alleging sexual offences against two women.

A Swedish court upholds the European arrest warrant against Assange.

"Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence", it said. All but one of those charges, brought by two women, have now passed the five-year statute of limitations.

The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, told a news conference in Stockholm that she could make no judgment on Assange's guilt or innocence.

Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange's accuser, criticized the Swedish authorities' decision in a statement to CNN.

Swedish prosecutors have announced they are dropping the country's rape investigation of Julian Assange. It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).

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