Swedish prosecutors drop rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Elias Hubbard
May 20, 2017

Assange has been seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, CNN reported.

Prosecutors said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued and an arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange would be revoked, sparking speculation he would be leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

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".

Assange always denied the rape allegations and said they were a ploy to get him whisked off to the United States.

Chelsea Manning was released from prison on Wednesday after serving seven years of her 35-year sentence, which was commuted by Barack Obama as one of his final acts as President.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts.my client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change that Assange exposed her to rape", lawyer Elisabeth Fritz said, according to AFP.

The Ecuadorean government welcomed the decision and in a statement called on Britain to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador.

The decision comes after Assange's Swedish lawyer filed a motion which demanded that the arrest warrant be lifted, after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April that arresting the WikiLeaks co-founder would be a "priority".

During last year's USA presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton's staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election to Trump.

Assange, an Australian national, was questioned in November in the presence of a Swedish prosecutor. "We are not making a statement about his guilt", she stressed, adding that the investigation could be reopened if Assange came to Sweden before the statute of limitations runs out in 2020.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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