Sweden drops case, but WikiLeaks' Assange not in the clear

Olive Rios
May 19, 2017

It added that while Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant for an "extremely serious offence", the MPS response reflected the "serious nature of that crime".

Assange complained in a tweet that he had been "detained for 7 years without charge" and said he would not "forgive or forget". "He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants".

Mr Assange said the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether there is a warrant from the US for his extradition, insisting he was happy to talk to the US Justice Department.

When the Swedish announcement was made on Friday, WikiLeaks commented through its Twitter account that the "focus now moves to the UK".

United States authorities have prepared charges to seek his arrest, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN last month.

Marianne Nye said she had made a decision to "discontinue" the investigation, although it is unlikely to lead to Mr Assange immediately leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for nearly five years.

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

Scotland Yard reportedly ran up costs of over 12 million pounds with 24/7 police security presence outside the Ecuadorian Embassy building, which was scaled back in 2015.

Marianne Ny, the Swedish director of public prosecutions announced Friday that she was dropping the rape case because there is no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden "in the foreseeable future" and it is "no longer proportionate" to maintain the European arrest warrant.

No. The investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Stockholm - allegations he denies. The Swedish statute of limitation on the case does not expire until August 2020. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.

Public declarations such as this constituted an "obvious risk" for Assange, the letter said.

"My client is shocked and no decision to [end the case] can make her change [her view] that Assange exposed her to rape", she said. She said the WikiLeaks founder had "tried to dodge all attempts at arrest" by British and Swedish authorities. "He has been critical that it has lasted that long".

Marchand also said that lawyers for the Australian, who are based around the world, were discussing the implications of the decision.

The U.S. has not dropped its interest in Assange, and London Metropolitan Police were quick to say they will continue to enforce an outstanding arrest warrant for him. The Metropolitan Police says there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he jumped bail in 2012, and the force "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

"The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are now wanted in the Capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners", it added.

It's not known if US officials are seeking Assange's arrest because of a possible sealed indictment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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