Sweden drops rape probe against Assange

Sweden drops rape probe against Assange

Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.

"The war, the proper war is just commencing", Assange said, noting his lawyers were in touch with British authorities and hoped to begin a dialogue about the "best way forward". Assange, 45, believes the United States wants him extradited and arrested in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents.

Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.

The source added: "Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the United Kingdom so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador".

British police, however, have said they still intend to arrest Assange if he leaves the Ecuadoran Embassy in London where he has been holed up.

Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until previous year, when the operation was scaled back.

A statement released online declared Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny's intention to "discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

The allegations stemmed from a 2010 trip Assange made to Stockholm, where two women claimed that in separate instances they had consensual sex with Assange that became non-consensual when he refused to wear a condom.

In his ten-minute speech, Assange also pointed to the release of the American whistleblower and former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) who landed in prison after she leaked almost 750,000 military files and cables to WikiLeaks.

"The Australian government which washed its hands of Julian Assange a long time ago now needs to get involved - this is one of its citizens", he told Sky News from Hobart on Saturday.

Assange still is under the protection of the Ecuadorian Embassy, as there is a threat that he can be persecuted by the United States due to his whistleblowing activity.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.

Her client was "shocked" and "had not changed her view that Assange raped her", the attorney said in an emailed statement to dpa.

Asked if she would support Britain extraditing Assange to the US, Theresa May said the Government "looks at extradition requests when we receive them on a case by case basis".

"This has gone on long enough", Long said.

The Swedish Prosecutor has now dropped that investigation because all avenues to pursue it have been exhausted.

In fact, Swedish prosecutors did not vindicate Assange.

While Assange may still not be able to leave the embassy in the upmarket Knightsbridge area of London, the prosecutor's decision to stop the investigation into allegations of rape brings to an end a seven-year stand-off with Sweden. WikiLeaks also had a provocative role in the 2016 USA presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials. Former US President Barack Obama commuted the sentence before leaving office.

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