United Kingdom police threaten to arrest Assange if he leaves Ecuador embassy

Elias Hubbard
May 20, 2017

August 13 - Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into the allegations of sexual assault against Assange because they had run out of time to bring charges but continue with investigations over the rape allegation.

In the intervening five years since Assange entered the Ecuadorean Embassy, Swedish and British authorities have concocted an ever more elaborate series of excuses not to interview him about the sexual assault allegations, despite the Queenslander repeatedly offering himself for interview, and Swedish authorities requesting that British police interviews dozens of people in the United Kingdom in relation to Swedish prosecutions during that period.

"We have today won an important victory, but the road is far from over".

It said: "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. The proper war is just commencing".

He promised that WikiLeaks would continue its "fight" for government transparency and digital rights.

Assange has said the sex was consensual.

"In prison, under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight!" he said. "Seven years without charge while my children grow up without me". That is not something I can forgive.

After the news was announced, WikiLeaks tweeted that the "focus now moves to the UK", saying the country had "refused to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

His accuser said via her lawyer that she was "shocked" the investigation had ended and called it a "scandal". In doing so, he has escaped all attempts by the Swedish and British authorities to execute the decision to surrender him to Sweden in accordance with the EU rules concerning the European Arrest Warrant.

He has been remanded in custody in absentia by Swedish authorities, who issued an arrest warrant relating to a 2010 rape allegation which Assange denies.

Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years. Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.

He feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents, one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.

The Stockholm appeals court rejects a request by Assange to lift the arrest warrant in light of the United Nations panel's non-binding legal opinion. "Julian Assange's case is now at the stage of 'preliminary investigation'". "We are very pleased and very moved, as this marks the end of his nightmare".

September: Assange's lawyers submit a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention claiming his situation in the embassy amounts to illegal detention.

"To continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange's personal appearance in court". It has been an expensive standoff: Assange's first three-year stay in the Ecuadorean embassy alone cost the British taxpayers £11.1 million ($14.4 million). "In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him", part of the statement reads. He is of course happy and relieved. "But he is critical over this going on for so long", Per E Samuelson told Sveriges Radio.

The investigation had suffered from multiple procedural complications since it began.

In a letter sent to the Swedish government on May 8, Ecuador condemned "the obvious lack of progress" in the investigation despite Assange's questioning at the embassy in November. In April, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions said it was a "priority" to arrest Assange.

Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice of his alleged crimes.

British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed US indictment against him. He argued his client's remand status should be changed so he could leave the embassy to travel to Ecuador.

Assange hailed a "victory" and said his lawyers were now seeking a "dialogue" with British authorities about his future but gave no further details and repeated his claim that the U.S. is planning to extradite him for revealing state secrets.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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