Swedish prosecutor drops rape investigation of Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape which he denies

Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she's dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years because there's no possibility of arresting him "in the foreseeable future".

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.

The Metropolitan Police Service in London said after the news was announced that it remained obliged to arrest Assange should he leave the Ecuadoran embassy on a lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, the BBC reported.

Scotland Yard said: "Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on June 29 2012". British police said before the announcement that Assange is still wanted in Britain for jumping bail.

"I have therefore today lifted the decision to remand Julian Assange in his absence", she 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", it added.

Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, his home for the last five years.

However, Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny confirmed that if Assange were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitations runs out in August 2020, the preliminary case against him could be reopened.

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"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts.my client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change that Assange exposed her to rape", lawyer Elisabeth Fritz said, according to AFP. But I regret that Julian Assange was not brought to the Swedish court of law to answer the allegations against him.

Swedish prosecutors received a translation of the interrogation four months later, but "all materials were translated into Spanish then into English then back into Spanish then into Swedish", Ny said, making it hard for the investigation to move forward.

Mr Assange thanked the government of Ecuador for granting him political asylum despite "intense pressure", as well as his legal team and others who had stood by him.

Ny told reporters that prosecutors had been unable to make a full assessment of the case and were not making a finding on whether Assange was guilty or innocent of the allegations.

Reuters reported in March that a long-running United States 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.

Samuelson filed a request early May to lift the arrest warrant issued in 2010.

British police kept up a round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back partly because of the costs, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time). Sweden's top prosecutor says she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after. "Focus now moves to United Kingdom".

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

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