The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, told a news conference in Stockholm that she could make no judgment on Assange’s guilt or innocence.
“It is extremely worrying that six months after the hearing at the Embassy of Ecuador in the United Kingdom, the Swedish prosecutor’s office has not yet decided on the judicial situation of Julian Assange”, the Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry said in the letter seen by AFP. Assange has stayed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when he first sought asylum to avoid being extradited for the sexual assault allegations.
In a letter sent to the Swedish government on May 8, Ecuador condemned “the obvious lack of progress” in the investigation despite Assange’s questioning in the presence of the Swedish prosecutor at the embassy in November 2016.
The WikiLeaks founder made a rare appearance on the balcony of the central London building to hail the decision by Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecutions as an “important victory”.
A cat dressed in a collar and tie looks out from a window of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Friday May 19, 2017.
Despite the probe in Sweden being dropped, Assange would still face arrest if he set foot outside the embassy, a flat located just behind the plush Harrods emporium.
But the picture is more complicated than that.
No. The investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Stockholm.
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.
After that, the investigation stalled.
There were initially two separate allegations being investigated, but one was dropped in 2015 because the statute of limitations ran out. He could still be prosecuted if new evidence against him emerges before August, 2020.
Sweden has revoked a European Arrest Warrant for Assange, so British police are no longer seeking him for extradition.
The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange’s arrest after he jumped bail in 2012, and it “is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy”.
Police indicated they will significantly scale back the resources dedicated to making sure Assange does not escape now that he is wanted for a much less serious crime.
He feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in USA history. Attorney general Jeff Sessions has stated that Assange’s arrest remains a priority.
WikiLeaks has repeatedly infuriated US officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world.
Lawyer David Allen Green, who has followed the case, tweeted: “Once outside embassy, Assange more at risk from any USA extradition attempt than if he had gone to Sweden”.
Julian Assange is now wanted by the US and United Kingdom governments for crimes related to the sexual assault allegations as well as his role in leaking classified USA documents through his website. On the balcony, Assange said such a move is “not acceptable”, adding that WikiLeaks would continue to publish documents and that the United States was silencing his right to free speech.