Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe into WikiLeaks' Assange

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 20, 2017

"And he's a free man", Samuelson said.

The Ecuadorean government welcomed the decision and in a statement called on Britain to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. "That is not something I can forgive or forget", he told journalists from a balcony at the embassy.

"The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States have plotted against Mr. Assange for the past seven years, trying to silence him for his exposure of their crimes". A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman on Friday declined to comment on the case.

United States prosecutors have been drafting a memo that looks at charges against Assange and WikiLeaks members that possibly include conspiracy, theft of government property and violations of the Espionage Act, according to The Washington Post.

"Free journalism is, by definition, a threat to those forces that secretly order, control and blight people's lives", Pilger said. "If Julian Assange was the editor of the New York Times doing his job as the US Constitution says he can, he would not be living in two small rooms, denied sunlight".

Assange, 45, is wanted in the U.S. over the leaking of military and diplomatic documents.

It said it would not comment further on its operational plan but added: "The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are now wanted in the Capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that any action concerning Assange were he to leave the embassy would be an operational matter for the British police.

In a statement, Swedish prosecutors said: "Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today chose to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

August 20: Swedish prosecutor issues arrest warrant for Assange based on one woman's allegation of rape and another woman's allegation of molestation.

She accused him of having sex with her - as she slept - without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.

"We are not making a statement about his guilt", Ny said, adding that the investigation could be reopened if Assange came to Sweden before the statute of limitations deadline for the rape allegation in 2020.

"Today is an important victory", Assange, in a black shirt and jacket, told reporters and a small band of supporters crowded around the tiny balcony.

"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.

Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange's accuser, criticized the Swedish authorities' decision in a statement to CNN.

"Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following his failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012", the police said.

But he could still be arrested as "Mr. Assange remains wanted for a much less serious of offense", a spokesperson for the British Metropolitan Police said Friday.

The police ended their round-the-clock guard outside the embassy in October 2015, amid public criticism of the cost.

Two media reports say USA prosecutors are preparing or closely considering charges against the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, including Assange, for revealing sensitive government secrets.

WikiLeaks raised a storm in July 2016 by releasing emails showing US Democratic Party officials favouring Hillary Clinton over left-winger Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary elections, forcing high-ranking party members to resign.

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks.

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