Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange after almost seven years. Assange took refuge

Assange said he had spent seven years either under house arrest or living inside the embassy, without charge, as he faced sex-related allegations in Sweden, which he has always denied.

At a press briefing earlier today, Sweden's top prosecutor Marianne Ny said that by remaining in the embassy in London Assange had evaded the exercise of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) that would have seen him extradited to Sweden. "U.K. refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange", the anti-secrecy website tweeted. A statement from law enforcement indicates "Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012". Despite that, London police said they are still obliged to arrest Assange if he left the embassy, because he breached bail conditions by failing to hand himself in for extradition to Sweden.

Submit your Newswire tips here. "The claim by the United Kingdom they can arrest me for seeking asylum is untenable", he noted. "Therefore the investigation is discontinued", Ny said.

The embattled founder of document-spilling site WikiLeaks has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 in a bid to avoid prosecution on those allegations and to shield himself from a potential U.S. espionage prosecution.

"My legal staff have contacted the UK authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what will be the best way forward", he said, adding that he was equally "happy to engage" in dialogue with the United States.

Swedish prosecutors made clear that the charges were not dropped because of a lack of probably cause or evidence, but rather because extraditing Assange to Sweden was proving to be impossible, the New York Times reports.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court", a lawyer for the woman who claimed Assange raped her responded.

The British Government have still not confirmed whether they have received an extradition request from the USA but just last month the Justice Department in Washington was reconsidering whether to charge Mr Assange for his role in the leak.

Assange has always denied the allegations against him, claiming the sex was consensual and that the case was politically motivated to get him extradited to the USA as it followed massive Wikileaks dumps of secret United States military reports that year. In this case, there have been many twists and the wait has been very long. 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.

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