Julian Assange Rape Inquiry Is Dropped but His Legal Problems Remain Daunting


Julian Assange said on Friday that Sweden's decision to drop a rape investigation against him is a "victory" and he is looking for dialogue with British and USA authorities over his future.

The announcement by prosecutor Marianne Ny means the outspoken WikiLeaks leader no longer faces sex crime allegations in Sweden, although British police said was still wanted for jumping bail in Britain in 2012.

While a grand jury investigation of Assange has never been officially confirmed, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that the WikiLeaks founder's arrest remains a "priority", and a federal inquiry is widely assumed to be underway by prosecutors in Virginia.

"He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants", Per E Samuelsson, his lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio.

"While today was an important victory and important vindication, the road is far from over", Assange said from the embassy balcony on Friday. Nearly five years ago, the WikiLeaks founder fled the country for Ecuador to avoid a rape investigation. Swedish prosecutors dropped cases of alleged sexual misconduct when the statute of limitations ran out in 2015, leaving only the rape allegation.

In view of the fact that all prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted, it appears that, in light of the views expressed by the Supreme Court in its assessment of the proportionality in this case, it could be argued that it becomes less proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence via a European Arrest Warrant.

"Recent declarations by high-level USA officials. reflect the executive branch's intention to once again take up criminal action against the WikiLeaks organization and Julian Assange", said Long.

At an unknown time Julian Assange left Sweden and, after a European Arrest Warrant was issued, was taken into custody in London by the Metropolitan Police on 7 December 2010.

He said he has suffered a "terrible injustice", without ever being charged with a crime.

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Assange could fight any USA extradition request in the British courts, a process that could take years.

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At a press conference Friday in Stockholm, Ny, chief of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said she "has made a decision to discontinue the investigation" and call back the European arrest warrant for Assange.

The controversy surrounding founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape accusations, has also polarised opinion on the group. Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.

The prosecutors said their decision was based on the nation's inability to apprehend Assange in the foreseeable future, adding that they could reopen the case if the transparency advocate returns to Sweden before 2020.

Ny told reporters that prosecutors had been unable to make a full assessment of the case and were not making a finding on whether Assange was guilty or innocent of the allegations.

Assange is arrested and held for months while his case progresses, before being given a prison sentence that could reach a maximum of one year.

Last month, the Department of Justice stated that it was reconsidering whether or not to charge the fugitive for his assistance in helping Chelsea Manning, a transgender Army soldier who had released classified government information.