Julian Assange welcomes rape claim decision

Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assa
Sweden drops rape investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Author

20 May, 2017

The rape allegation against the Australian computer programmer had followed a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010.

In a written statement, officials said: "According to Swedish legislation, a criminal investigation is to be conducted as quickly as possible".

He addressed a crowd of more than 100 journalists and curious bystanders from the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London on Friday.

The Swedish prosecutor's office said in a statement it had chose to end its seven-year probe.

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein). A police officer walks past people gathering outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Friday May 19, 2017.

Prior to his speech, Ecuador's foreign minister Guillaume Long had said: "Given that the European Arrest Warrant no longer holds, 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". The Swedish prosecutor denied costs had played a role in their decision to drop the investigation.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has called the Swedish prosecutor's decision to drop its investigation into an allegation of rape against him as an "important victory and vindication".

The Swedish prosecutor " s office announced today the closure of the investigation to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks site, for an alleged violation.

But the picture is more complicated than that.

But British police said that Assange still faced arrest on charges of jumping bail if he walked out of diplomatic protection, which Assange claims is needed to keep him from being extradited to the United States on charges of disclosing confidential military and diplomatic documents.

Julian Assange has given a clenched-fist salute as he welcomed a Swedish decision to drop a rape investigation against him as "an important victory".

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"Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime".

Elisabeth Massi Fritz says her client is shocked but adds that "she can't change her view that Assange has exposed her to a rape".

Sweden has revoked a European Arrest Warrant for Assange, so British police are no longer seeking him for extradition. British police said that if Assange were to leave the embassy it was still their obligation to arrest him.

Manning, a transgender woman and US soldier, was convicted of espionage in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in an all-male prison.

Assange said his legal team would reach out to British authorities to try to find a way forward, and he said he would be "happy" to have a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Justice despite its threats against him. Samuelson adds Assange is now free to leave the embassy if he so chooses. The arrangement was necessary, he had said, to keep Swedish authorities from turning him over to the United States for his role at the helm of WikiLeaks, which has enraged governments around the world by publishing tens of thousands of leaked classified USA documents.

Friday's announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.

Branco says: "We need a political intervention to make this situation end".

Asked if she would support Britain extraditing Assange to the US, Ms May replied: "We look at extradition requests when we receive them on a case by case basis". That is no longer the case.

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

Assange gave a clenched fist salute as he stepped into the daylight on the balcony of Ecuador s London embassy, where he has been holed up since 2012.


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