Swedish prosecutors drop rape probe against WikiLeaks's Assange

BREAKING NEWS Assange Rape Investigation Dropped by Sweden

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

Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation, which he denies.

British police said despite Sweden's decision to drop a rape investigation, Assange still faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador's embassy in London.

Assange, an Australian national, has previously said that he feared that if he left the embassy he could end up being extradited and face the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing hundreds of thousands o secret USA military and diplomatic documents through WikiLeaks, CNN reported. Breaching bail is punishable by up to one year in prison. Lawyer David Allen Green, who has followed the case, tweeted: "Once outside embassy, Assange more at risk from any U.S. extradition attempt than if he had gone to Sweden".

Friday was the deadline for the Swedish prosecution to send a request to Stockholm District Court in the Assange case.

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Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long urged Britain to "grant safe passage" out of the country to Assange. US President Donald Trump last month said he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

"Whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail", Sessions said. "We are not making a statement about his guilt", she stressed, adding that the investigation could be reopened if Assange came to Sweden before the statute of limitations runs out in 2020.

Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is thought to have cost the United Kingdom taxpayer in excess of £10 million during his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. They were not allowed to question him directly but only through an Ecuadorean prosecutor.

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".

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