Sweden drops rape claim investigation against Julian Assange

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016, file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange is celebrating the results of Ecuador’s presidential runoff with a blast at the losing candidate who had pledged to evict him from Ecuador’s embassy in London. Assange has been holed up at the diplomatic mission since 2012, when President Rafael Correa granted him asylum. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

STOCKHOLM (AP) – Sweden’s top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after almost seven years.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement Friday that Marianne Ny “has decided to discontinue the investigation.”

Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States.

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

Despite Sweden’s decision to drop a rape investigation, British police say that Julian Assange still faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy.

The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange’s arrest after he juimped bail in 2012, and it “is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy.”

But it adds that Assange is now wanted for a “much less serious offense” than the original sex crimes claims, and police “will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense.”

 

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