UK police say Assange still faces arrest

Elias Hubbard
May 20, 2017

The Swedish prosecutor is dropping its investigation into an allegation of rape against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

As Assange always predicted, once he was interviewed and prosecutors had to decide whether to pursue the case, it was abandoned. President Donald Trump has said it is "OK" with him if Sessions does that.

He gave a clenched fist salute to his supporters, and scores of journalists and TV crews, before maintaining that a "legal conflict" with the United States and the UK continues.

Speaking at a Conservative campaign event in Edinburgh, Mrs May added: "In relation to Julian Assange, any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him were he to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy would be an operational matter for the police".

In November, Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren was present during Assange's questioning at the Ecuadorian embassy as she posed questions through an Ecuadorian prosecutor. "The proper war is just commencing". Assange has indicated concerns that he may face indictm.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Guillaume Long celebrated the decision but expressed outrage over the lengthy delays by the Swedish prosecutors in resolving the case.

The U.S. authorities, however, have prepared charges to seek his arrest, officials familiar with the matter told CNN last month. Long added: "This has gone on long enough".

The move comes ahead of a Stockholm court's examination of a demand by Assange's lawyers that Sweden drop his European arrest warrant, the BBC reported.

After the announcement, Assange spoke with the press from the embassy's balcony: "WikiLeaks will continue to its publications. Finally we got there".

A lawyer for the woman who alleges she was raped by Julian Assange says "it is a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court". Juan Branco told The Associated Press in Paris that he wants Macron to help Assange leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. "To conduct a preliminary investigation for so many years and today make a decision to close the investigation is something I am very critical of", she said.

Claims of sexual assault by Assange, centring on allegations he did not wear a condom during consensual sex, led to an investigation by Sweden's chief prosecutor in 2010.

"Now all eyes are on the US - that's the reason for his asylum", she told NBC News. "My client is shocked and no decision to [end the case] can make her change that Assange exposed her to rape", she said.

Sweden's top prosecutor, Marianne Ny, says she has withdrawn a European arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after concluding that it won't be possible to bring him to Sweden. "My assessment is the transfer can not be carried out in a foreseeable future", Ms Ny told reporters.

August 21: Arrest warrant is withdrawn. London police say he will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy building.

"Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on June 29, 2012", the force said in a statement.

But London's Metropolitan Police added that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offense" than the original sex crimes claims, so police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense".

It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).

February 24: District court in Britain rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden.

Assange is wanted by British police for extradition to Sweden.

After the Swedish announcement. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that "any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him (Assange) would be an operational matter for the police".

The Crown Prosecution Service said that breach of bail is punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.

Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecution, said in a statement that the rape investigation was dropped because "there is no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future".

"This implies that we can now demonstrate that the U.S. has a will to take action. this is why we ask for the arrest warrant to be cancelled so that Julian Assange can fly to Ecuador and enjoy his political asylum", lawyer Per Samuelsson told AFP at the time.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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