WikiLeaks' Assange calls end of rape case important victory

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

A statement released online declared Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny's intention to "discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

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

While Assange may still not be able to leave Ecuador's embassy in the upmarket Knightsbridge area of London, the prosecutor's decision to stop the investigation into allegations of rape brings to an end a seven-year stand-off with Sweden.

The sun-starved WikiLeaks provocateur, looking healthy if pale, emerged Friday afternoon to address the media in the open air of the embassy's balcony.

Authorities in the United States have prepared charges to seek his arrest, USA officials familiar with the matter told CNN last month.

"If Assange went into British custody then the Swedes may well revisit their decision on proportionality, as extradition suddenly easier", he tweeted. His children had grown up without him, he said. "And that is not something I can forget, it is not something I can forgive", he told reporters.

The Metropolitan Police force says that there is a British warrant for Assange's arrest after he jumped bail in 2012, and it "is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy". He feared that extradition to Sweden would lead to extradition to the United States where he is wanted for leaking thousands of classified documents.

Assange said his legal team would reach out to British authorities to try to find a way forward, and he said he would be "happy" to have a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Justice despite its threats against him.

WikiLeaks has repeatedly infuriated US officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world.

"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".

WikiLeaks tweeted: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a USA extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

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Friday's announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.

Mr Assange refused to meet actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played him the film The Fifth Estate, because he believed it would only help destroy his organisation. He was granted diplomatic asylum in August that year. But some experts said the development would put him in an even more precarious legal situation, if the US has a sealed indictment for his arrest.

The feline, who has been living in the building since his children gave him the pet in May past year, is the subject of an unverified Twitter account which says she is "interested in counter-purrveillance".

The letter raised developments in the United States since the election of Donald Trump as president, including a speech by CIA director Mike Pompeo describing WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service".

"We will seek to put some people in jail", Sessions said.

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks. She was freed Wednesday, having had her sentence commuted by outgoing President Barack Obama before he left office.

"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", British police said.

WikiLeaks complained about the lack of clarity in Assange's legal situation.

After the news was announced on Friday, Wikileaks tweeted that the "focus now moves to the UK", but Assange's fate still seems unclear. "Focus now moves to United Kingdom".

Last year, when Mr Assange began a three-day interview in the confines of the embassy over a sexual assault allegation, a cat made a rather dapper appearance at the window dressed in a collar and tie.

Ms Anderson later wrote about Mr Assange on her blog in a long message which was accompanied by a photo of him, saying: "My relationship with Julian - it's no secret".

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