Sweden drops rape investigation into Assange

Swedish prosecutors on Friday said they had dropped rape charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, closing a almost seven-year investigation.

British police said Assange is still wanted in Britain for jumping bail in 2012 and that they would be obliged to arrest him “should he leave the embassy”.

However, Assange has thus far been cautious about taking advantage of the development.

He feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of swathes of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in USA history.

“UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange”.

US authorities have been investigating Assange and WikiLeaks since at least 2010, when the site posted thousands of cables stolen by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

As per today’s announcement, Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said Friday that chief Marianne Ny “has made a decision to discontinue the investigation”. Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Assange.

WikiLeaks said on Twitter that the ball was now in the UK’s court.

During last year’s US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton’s staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election to Trump.

“The decision to discontinue the preliminary investigation is not because we’ve been able to make a full assessment of the evidence in this case, but because we didn’t see any possibilities to advance the investigation forward”.

A lawyer for Assange welcomed the decision of prosecutors to drop the seven-year rape investigation against him, saying it was the “end of his nightmare”.

Prosecutors first interviewed Assange in November past year in the Ecuadorean embassy.