Sweden drops case but WikiLeaks' Assange is not in the clear

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation on May 19, 2017.

In view of the fact that all prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted, it appears that, in light of the views expressed by the Supreme Court in its assessment of the proportionality in this case, it could be argued that it becomes less proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence via a European Arrest Warrant.

Assange, 45, has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since 2012, trying to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He says says his battle is not over, and "the proper war is just commencing".

His site in 2010 leaked hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.

In 2012, Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy.

Assange said Friday his legal team would contact United Kingdom officials to seek a way forward in resolving his status.

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".

It added that while Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant for an "extremely serious offence", the MPS response reflected the "serious nature of that crime".

British police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).

It should be interesting to see how this case develops further, British Prime Minister Theresa May has said, in response to a question about the UK's willingness to support Assange's extradition to the United States, that "any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him were he to leave the Ecuadorian embassy would be an operational matter for the police", and her government will look at extradition on a "case by case basis".

It's not known if US officials have asked British police to arrest Assange because of a possible sealed USA indictment against him.

Assange's lawyer, Per Samuelson, called Sweden's decision a "total victory". "Focus now moves to UK", WikiLeaks said in a tweet after the announcement in Sweden.

British officials said they do not comment on individual extradition cases.

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Prime Minister Theresa May said any decision about Assange will be an operational matter for the British police to decide.

Meanwhile Ecuador urged the United Kingdom to allow him safe passage out of the country.

Shortly afterward, he lodged his request for asylum in Ecuador and fled to the country's embassy in London.

"Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, has today made a decision to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape by Julian Assange", the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The statute of limitations on the rape allegation was due to expire in August 2020.

She accused him of having sex with her as she slept without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex. The authorities, however, said that they were not declaring Assange's innocence but instead conceding they could not leap the legal hurdles presented by Assange's diplomatic protection.

Ny told a news conference in Stockholm: "He has tried to dodge all attempts to avoid Swedish and British legal authorities".

Sweden's decision to drop the rape investigation against Assange comes against the backdrop of the release from prison of WikiLeaks' possibly most important whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, who leaked over 700,000 secret U.S. government documents back in 2010.

Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.

Through means of legal assistance provided by the Ecuadorian Republic, Ecuadorian prosecutors interviewed Julian Assange on 14-15 November 2016 in London. "This is obviously about consensual sex between two adults". "And he's a free man", Samuelson said.

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

Manning was released on Wednesday after spending seven years in a US military prison for passing the documents to WikiLeaks.

Towards the end of his term President Obama decided she should be freed and the former intelligence analyst was recently released from jail.

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