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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange defiant as Sweden drops rape probe

20 May 2017

Friday was the deadline for the Swedish prosecution to send a request to Stockholm District Court in the Assange case. Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Ju.

Marianne Ny told a news conference: "When we investigate serious crimes, we do not consider the costs". Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian A. A brief statement ahead of a press conference by the prosecutor later on Friday said: "Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, has today chose to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein). The Ecuadorian national flag flies outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Friday May 19, 2017.

The Swedish prosecutor's office announced on Friday that an investigation against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged rape has been closed.

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". He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants.

But the picture is more complicated than that.

Then, in June 2012, after exhausting legal avenues to prevent his extradition, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, where he remains to this day.

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After that, the investigation stalled.

Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said the investigation had not been able to proceed because of legal obstacles.

She said the case could be reopened if Assange returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations expires in 2020.

Julian Assange says Sweden's decision to drop a rape inveatigation against him is "an important victory for me and for the United Nations human rights system". But there is also a warrant issued by a British court after he skipped bail in June 2012.

Possible US charges aside, Assange is still subject to an arrest warrant in the United Kingdom after he failed to surrender to Westminster Magistrates' Court in June 2012, London's Metropolitan Police Service said Friday.

She has since been a supporter of Mr Assange, saying "you may be an enemy of the state but you are not an enemy of humanity" in a video that was released by WikiLeaks to mark Chelsea Manning's release from prison.

"My legal staff have contacted the United Kingdom authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what is the best way forward". Another five years in Ecuador's London embassy?

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American authorities have prepared charges to seek Arrange's arrest, CNN reported, citing USA officials familiar with the matter. Last month, President Donald Trump said he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

That's unclear. Assange suspects there is a secret USA indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, which has infuriated US officials.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo last month called WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to a question about Assange, said the administration was stepping up its efforts against all leaks of sensitive information.

WikiLeaks also had a role in the 2016 USA presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.

Assange told reporters Friday he would be happy to discuss his case with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Some legal experts say it makes his position less secure.

Mr Assange faces extradition to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the embassy.

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

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Britain and the USA have an extradition treaty, so if Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy where he's claimed asylum, the British could arrest him and send him to the US.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange defiant as Sweden drops rape probe