Rape probe dropped for WikiLeaks' Assange; uncertainty ahead

Swedish prosecutors drop rape probe against WikiLeaks's Assange

Swedish prosecutors drop rape probe against WikiLeaks's Assange

The Latest on Swedish prosecutor ending investigation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (all times local): 10:45 a.m.

In a statement, the office said Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny had chose to shut down the investigation and that details would be made available later at a press conference, Efe news reported.

Earlier this month, Assange, via his lawyer, demanded that the arrest warrant against him be suspended since the United States had declared that they meant to imprison him.

However, British police said he is still a wanted man for failing to surrender in the country in 2012.

However, she added that if at a later date Assange makes himself available, the investigation will be resumed immediately, the report added.

However, it noted that now the Swedish authorities had dropped their investigation, Assange was "wanted for a much less serious offence" than before and said the force would "provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence". The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy. President Donald Trump has said it is "OK" with him if Sessions does that.

Assange was questioned in November at the embassy in London by an Ecuadorean prosecutor, who asked questions prepared by Swedish prosecutors on the allegations.

Marianne Nye said she had chose to "discontinue" the investigation, although it is unlikely to lead to Mr Assange immediately leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for nearly five years. But I regret that Julian Assange was not brought to the Swedish court of law to answer the allegations against him.

She also noted "there is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation". Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian A.

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.

The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, told a news conference in Stockholm that she could make no judgment on Assange's guilt or innocence.

Reuters reported in March that a long-running U.S. grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks had been expanded to include recent leaks of Central Intelligence Agency documents, a move that Assange's lawyers said strengthened the grounds for his asylum claim.

"Given that the European arrest warrant no longer holds, Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the United Kingdom so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage, in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador".

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 in one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said in April that the arrest of Assange was a priority for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Recent public declarations such as this constitute an "obvious risk" for Mr Assange, said the letter.

Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until a year ago, when the operation was scaled back.

Mr Assange said the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether there is a warrant from the US for his extradition, insisting he was happy to talk to the US Justice Department.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz says her client is shocked by the Swedish decision but added that "she can't change her view that Assange has exposed her to a rape".

WikiLeaks' release of classified material has continued unabated during Assange's five years in the Ecuadorean embassy.

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